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Theatre Kingston explores social justice struggles with The Meeting

Image provided by Theatre Kingston.

Theatre Kingston has opened their different and distanced 2020-2021 season with a small cast production of The Meeting by Jeff Stetson. This play depicts a fictional conversation between Malcom X and Martin Luther King Jr. at the height of the Civil Rights Movement, speaking on the social issues surrounding them as they debate over their philosophical approaches to it, according to a release from Theatre Kingston.

“In 2020 many might believe that protesting for mental health awareness and the BLM movement are inventions of our time, but these struggles for social justice have been on going,” stated Rosemary Doyle, Artistic Director for Theatre Kingston. “This season Theatre Kingston is returning us to the early 1960’s and the people who were the instigators of many of the modern conversations we are still having.”

The play stars Kingston’s own Cassel Miles as Martin Luther King Jr., and features Dan School of Drama and Music student Paul Smith as Malcolm X. Rashad’s character is played by Johnny Jordan. Under the direction of Rosemary Doyle, the show opened to a sold out crowd on Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020.

“It has been, and continues to be, a treat to play with Paul and Johnny every night,” Cassel Miles share with Kingstonist. “Respectively as ‘Malcolm’ and ‘Martin’, Paul Smith and I are always finding new truths about the humanity of the men. That was something that Rosemary strove for during rehearsals; the truth. Her keen ear (she never once looked at the script) would pick up on words, phrases and meanings during rehearsals that, many times, Paul or I would express amazement; we didn’t see it at all yet there “it” was. And simple directions like like, “Just ask him the question, Cassel.” Once again it was to shed any pre-conceived ideas about the greatness of the man and just be a man asking another man a question.”

“People that have come to see the show have DM’d me personally with their gratitude for having access to live theatre once again,” Miles continued. “And much praise has gone out to Rosemary for her innovative approach to audience safety. They are also thrilled to the moon over the subject matter and how the words in the play speak directly to our current times and the BLM movement-unfortunately. As a Black man living in Kingston I have had my run-ins with overt and insidious racism here. This is the best way that I, as an actor, am able to extend the hand of conversation and to emphasize Dr. King’s mantra, ‘We must live together as brothers or we most certainly will perish as fools.'”

Cassel Miles and Paul Smith in The Meeting. Image provided by Theatre Kingston.

“Through the lens of this play we are able to witness these crusaders who were at root of the modern civil rights movement in North America,” Rosemary Doyle said in a statement on the Theatre Kingston website. “The Meeting lets us clearly see where we were, where we are and where we need to be.”

“The show is very powerful and so far the audiences have loved it. Standing ovations are frequent, and people have thanked me profusely for making this possible,” Doyle shared with Kingstonist.

The Meeting runs until Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020, and tickets are on sale through Theatre Kingston’s website. For more information and to get your tickets visit https://www.theatrekingston.com/the-meeting.html

There is limited seating available for these shows, as social distancing protocols, vetted by the KFL&A Public Health department, will be in place, says Theatre Kingston. The audience is capped at 39, and those who order tickets together will be considered a “pod” and can sit in close proximity to each other.

ABOUT THEATRE KINGSTON:

Theatre Kingston is located in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. For 29 years Theatre Kingston continuously workshopped, created, and produced high quality productions for its audience. Theatre Kingston produces the annual Storefront Fringe series for The Kick and Push Festival, which provides emerging artists with a venue and an audience for their new and developing works.

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