This month we talk to playwright, novelist, poet, essayist, and political activist Pearl Cleage. Her plays include Flyin’ West, Blues for an Alabama Sky, What I Learned in Paris, Angry, Raucous, and Shamelessly Gorgeous, and The Nacirema Society. A month-long festival in Cleage’s honor is already underway in Chicago with events taking place across six theatres through mid-October. The festival also includes productions of Blues for an Alabama Sky at Remy Bumppo Theatre Company directed by Mikael Burke, and The Nacirema Society at the Goodman directed by Lili-Anne Brown. Cleage is the distinguished playwright in residence at Atlanta’s Alliance Theatre. Her new play Something Moving: A Meditation on Maynard is part of the Ford’s Theatre Legacy Commissions program and the commemorates the 50th anniversary of the election of Atlanta’s first African American mayor. Cleage worked on Maynard Jackson’s 1973 campaign and served as his speechwriter and press secretary for two years.
On this episode Cleage discusses her fruitful working relationship with Susan V. Booth, the universality of family stories, and her thoughts on the state of American theatre. She recalls the electric enthusiasm felt by many at the time of Maynard Jackson’s historic election and shares her own vision for Atlanta’s future.
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