Tazewell Thompson's portrait of Civil Rights pioneer Ida B. Wells, Constant Star, makes its Kentucky debut at Actors Theatre of Louisville Jan. 4-27.
Tazewell directs the five-woman piece, which pays tribute to the woman who was born a slave a few months prior to the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. She went on to be a suffragette, a wife, an investigative journalist and an activist. The play had its world premiere at PlayMakers Rep in North Carolina in September 1999.
"I was fascinated by her tenacity and determination and courage," Thompson said in production notes. Thompson's previous ATL directorial credits include Home, From the Mississippi Delta and Having Our Say.
The five actresses in Constant Star — Tina Fabrique, Cheryl Freeman, Carolyn Saxon, Myiia Watson-Davis and Shona Tucker — play Wells at different stages of her life, and also appear as other historical figures, including W.E.B. Dubois, Susan B. Anthony, Booker T. Washington and Frederick Douglass. Wells lived 1862-1931.
Designers are Paul Owen (set), Pip Gordon (lights), Jeffrey Fender (costumes) and Martin R. Dejardins (sound). Diane Adams McDowell is the musical director. Tickets are $10-$30. Performances are in the Pamela Brown Theatre in the three-venue ATL facility at 316 Main Street in downtown Louisville. For ticket information call (502) 584-1205, or visit the website at www.actorstheatre.org.
— By Kenneth Jones