A Conversation Between America’s Past and its Promise

“In Case You Hadn’t Heard: A Conversation Between America’s Past and Its Promise” is adapted and directed by Reggie D. White. Photo by Ambe J. Williams.

Bay Street Theater, in partnership with Eastville Community Historical Society and the Southampton African American Museum, will host the online world premiere of “In Case You Hadn’t Heard: A Conversation Between America’s Past And Its Promise,” a provocative view of race in America, on Monday, February 22, at 8 p.m.

The theatrical presentation is adapted and directed by Reggie D. White and stars Darryl Gene Daughtry Jr., Crystal Dickinson, Jason Veasey and Clarissa Vickerie.

“In Case You Hadn’t Heard: A Conversation Between America’s Past and Its Promise” offers an unvarnished look at issues surrounding race in America. The theatrical presentation is adapted and directed by Reggie D. White, and sources found text to draw on the words of 20 thought leaders of the past and present. Their words are brought together to create a “conversation” between a group of four actors, as they candidly discuss what it means to be Black in America. As words from the past and hopes for the future collide, a frank and forthright dialogue pours forth, sounding a call to action. This presentation includes language that may be upsetting to some viewers.

The content of “In Case You Haven’t Heard” is drawn from speeches and writings of 20 influential African Americans: Houston Baker, James Baldwin, Mary McLeod Bethune, London Breed, Keiajah Brooks, Stokely Carmichael, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Angela Davis, Dick Gregory, Fannie Lou Hamer, Lorraine Hansberry, Jemele Hill, Marley K., Tamika Mallory, Robert P. Moses, Khalid Abdul Muhammad, Barack Obama, Amber Ruffin, Jesse Williams and Malcolm X.

“Bay Street is so excited to present this bold and frank theatrical piece,” said Artistic Director Scott Schwartz. “Reggie D. White has created a fascinating conversation using the words of great thinkers, activists, and leaders, and we hope it will inspire further conversations among our audience and community.”

“The fight for transformational racial justice in this country is an ongoing four-century-long endeavor,” said adapter and director Reggie D. White. “In that time, we’ve heard millions of souls raise their voices in spaces big and small. ‘In Case You Hadn’t Heard’ imagines a forward-looking conversation between those souls — with gratitude for the legacy they’ve left us and fully aware of how much work is left ahead. This piece lifts up the thoughts, hopes, and worries of 20 Americans who have given their voices, their time, and their lives to the cause of our collective liberation. ‘In Case You Hadn’t Heard’ is a love letter to the joy, passion, and brilliance that have been the lifeblood of our enduring fight to make America live up to the promises she made to herself.”

White is a New York-based multidisciplinary artist and educator who most recently appeared in the Vineyard Theatre’s virtual piece, “Lessons in Survival,” which he co-conceived. Before Broadway began its indefinite shutdown, he also appeared in the 11-time Tony-nominated two-part epic, “The Inheritance.” Other acting credits include NYTW, The Public Theater, 59E59, Arden Theatre, Berkeley Rep, and La Jolla Playhouse. As a director, his work has been featured at Bay Street Theater, The Public Theater, Atlantic Acting School, New York Winterfest, Bay Area Children’s Theatre, Berkeley Playhouse, AlterTheatre Ensemble, and more. He is an alumnus of the Atlantic Acting School, where he now serves as school artistic director, a recipient of the TBA TITAN Award, the TCG Fox Fellowship, and is a company member of The Williams Project, a living wage theater company.

The evening will include a talkback between the director and the actors, led by Dr. Georgette Grier-Key of the Eastville Community Historical Society. Tickets are $10 at baystreet.org.