Directed by BSC artistic director Julianne Boyd, The Best of Enemies received its world premiere July 21-Aug. 6 in Pittsfield, MA. The drama is being brought back because many people in the Berkshires community were not able to see the work due to its limited summer engagement, director Boyd said. Performances play to Oct. 16.
The return of the fact-inspired Mark St. Germain play roughly follows the pattern set by the writer's hit play Freud's Last Session, which was popular (at BSC Stage 2) in 2009 and returned there three times (twice in 2009 again in 2010) before moving to its current Off-Broadway run.
Inspired by the best-selling book by Osha Gray Davidson, The Best of Enemies is a true story about the relationship between C.P. Ellis (a Grand Cyclops of the KKK) and Ann Atwater (an African-American civil rights activist) during the desegregation of the Durham, NC, schools in 1971. According to BSC notes, "The Best of Enemies exposes the poison of prejudice in the hearts of Atwater and Ellis who, by facing each other, are forced to face the worst, and best, in themselves."
Returning for this engagement are original cast members John Bedford Lloyd as C. P. Ellis, Aisha Hinds as Ann Atwater and Susan Wands as Mary Ellis. Clifton Duncan, who created the part of Bill Riddick, had a previous commitment; Don Guillory now plays the role.
BSC's fall production of Lord of the Flies, originally scheduled for an October run, will be presented in October 2012. The Best of Enemies is designed by David M. Barber (sets), Scott Pinkney (lights), Kristina Lucka (costumes) and Brad Berridge (sound). Michael Andrew Rodgers is production stage manager.
St. Germain's other plays include Ears on a Beatle, The God Committee, Out of Gas on Lover's Leap, Camping with Henry and Tom (Outer Critics Circle Award and Lucille Lortel Award) and Forgiving Typhoid Mary.
A free talk-back with the cast will follow the Oct. 6 performance at 7 PM. The Best of Enemies plays the BSC Mainstage, 30 Union Street, in Pittsfield. For more information, visit www.barringtonstageco.org.