A thrilling new project came to life last night on stage at the Fountain with the first-ever reading of the new stage adaptation of Citizen: American Lyric by Claudia Rankine. The book about race in America has earned international acclaim, winning the National Book Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Award, and is a finalist for the PEN Award.
Adapted for the stage by Stephen Sachs and directed by Shirley Jo Finney, the cast for last night’s reading included Bernard Addison, Chris Butler, Tina Lifford, Simone Missick, Linda Park, Amy Pietz, and Larry Poindexter. A new work in development, it was the first public reading of the script. The response from the audience was very enthusiastic, the excited buzz after the reading filled the Fountain with electricity.
Citizen: An American Lyric is a provocative meditation on race fusing prose, poetry, and the visual image. A lyric poem, snapshots, vignettes, on the acts of everyday racism. Remarks, glances, implied judgments. Some of these encounters are slights, seeming slips of the tongue, and some are intentional offensives in the classroom, at the supermarket, at home, on the tennis court with Serena Williams and the soccer field with Zinedine Zidane, online, on TV — everywhere, all the time. Those did-that-really-just-happen-did-they-really-just say-that slurs that happen every day and enrage in the moment and later steep poisonously in the mind. And, of course, those larger incidents that become national or international firestorms. As Rankine writes, “This is how you are a citizen.”
The world premiere stage adaption is scheduled to open this summer at the Fountain Theatre. More Info