Debate: Baldwin VS Buckley

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Debate: Baldwin VS Buckley

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Following a critically acclaimed run in New York City, the american vicarious’ radically staged production of the historic debate between James Baldwin and William F. Buckley Jr. premieres at London’s Stone Nest. “Is the American Dream at the expense of the American Negro?” This was the topic on February 18, 1965 when an overflowing crowd packed the Cambridge Union in Cambridge, England, to bear witness to a historic televised debate between James Baldwin, the leading literary voice of the civil rights movement, and William F. Buckley Jr., a fierce critic of the movement and America’s most influential conservative intellectual. The stage was set for an epic confrontation that pitted Baldwin’s call for a moral revolution in race relations against Buckley’s unabashed elitism and implicit commitment to white supremacy. This historic clash reveals the deep roots and lasting legacy of racial conflict that continues to haunt America. The objective of the american vicarious in restaging this historic debate is not to inhabit such monumental figures as James Baldwin or William F. Buckley Jr., their shoes are too large to fill. Rather, their objective is to simply place their words, which still resonate 58 years later, within the voice of contemporary artists. Adapted and directed by Christopher McElroen with video and graphics by Adam J Thompson. Featuring Teagle F. Bougere (Broadway’s The Tempest with Patrick Stewart and Ivo Van Hove’s The Crucible) as Baldwin and Eric T. Miller (Mare of Easttown) as Buckley. Joining them in UK cast are Christopher Wareham and Tom Kiteley. We will be hosting a series of post-show talks (Tue, Wed (except 15/03), Fri and Sat. mat) with the actors and guest hosts (TBA) where we will discuss what has changed, and what has remained the same, in the US and UK race relations since the original debate.


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