Embers of Tent City

Inspired by two voting rights leaders in 1960s and 3 white Southerners who overcame their racism... but the play takes place in near Memphis just after Obama's first inauguration on Jan 20 and the first meeting of the Tea Party in Feb 2009. Description:

EMBERS OF TENT CITY. What can drive two life-long enemies onto common ground? This play brews a combustible mix in February 2009 of rights, racism and the rage that triggered the first meeting of the Tea Party less than a month after President Obama’s first inauguration. As the play begins, Mac wants to shelter people evicted in Memphis TN by the mortgage crisis just as he sheltered people evicted for voting before the 1965 Voting Rights Act. But, he is rebuilding Tent City in a field next to the farmhouse of Zeke,  the white sheriff who would love to finish off the near-death beating his paid thugs gave Mac years ago. As they renew old hatreds, the sheriff’s granddaughter Luanne arrives hell-bent to get to the first meeting of the Tea Party on February 16, followed by a smooth east coast operative trying to recruit her as an organizer for western Tennessee. When the first tent burns, Mac almost kills Zeke, but an unexpected connection grows as the old men realize who burned the tent and try to rescue the granddaughter from the tea party organizer who is using Luanne as Zeke was used by the White Citizens Council. History so far:

  • Developed in workshops with playwrights Jackie Sibblies Drury (at NYTW) and Rogelio Martinez (at Primary Stages/ESPA.)
  • Reading in Nov 2014 and revisions after
  • Goal: Find director and theater group who can help strengthen the script then produce when ready, preferably in areas where people inspired the story - Memphis, Alabama, Mississippi where whites who once fought the civil rights movement and sympathized with the Klan have apologized to Rep John Lewis or others.
Reading at Manhattan Theatre Company's Creative Center on Nov 10 2014 with - Arthur French in lead (MAC, inspired by actual aging voting rights leader in Fayette County TN) -Michael A. Jones (TYRONE, black banker whose clients are being evicted in mortgage crisis), John Long (KEITH, east coast operative recruiting organizers for the Tea Party), -John Nelson (reading directions), - Hamilton Meadows (ZEKE, retired sheriff who tried to kill MAC in the 60s), - Miranda Noelle Wilson (LUANNE, Sheriff's granddaughter, evicted because her husband lost job in 2008 financial crisis and desperate to get to first meeting of Tea Party so she can be hired as an organizer), - Connie Winston (VICTORIA - Mac's wife who took over negotiations with Justice Dept after Mac was beaten) - John Long (KEITH GORHAM - east coast operative from a consortium of corporations recruiting grass roots organizers for the new Tea Party)
Tita Anntares