Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Frederick Douglass, and Malcolm X’

The next Dr. Greta McCormick Coger Literary Salon will take place in-person and online Friday, September 11 at 8:00 pm (CDT)

Tennessee Shakespeare Company Presents 'Creative Extremists: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Frederick Douglass, and Malcolm X'

Tennessee Shakespeare Company continues its “Essential” 13th performance season Friday, September 11 with the most hopeful and immediate of its Dr. Greta McCormick Coger Literary Salons titled Creative Extremists: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Frederick Douglass, and Malcolm X.

The one-hour Salon, presented both in-person on TSC’s Owen and Margaret Wellford Tabor Stage and simulcast online beginning at 8:00 pm (CDT), creatively follows the inspirations, emergence, and actions of three men fighting for racial justice and equality in America.

Curated and performed by TSC founding member Darius Wallace and directed by Producing Artistic Director Dan McCleary, Creative Extremists reminds us that while our democracy remains imperfect, it does provide for basic human rights for everyone. Dr. King, Douglass, and Malcolm X exercised those rights in different ways and were inspired by writers who came before them. They remain particularly influential today in a deadly, racially-divided country.

Wallace, a native of Flint, Michigan, has traveled the country for most of his life performing solo shows as King, Douglass, and Malcolm X, along with the poetry of Langston Hughes. In this Salon, he combines the words and lives of the three men along with his own personal experience and poetry to reflect on this year’s violence and protests within our African-American community.

The Salon will include, among several works, Dr. King’s resonant letter from a Birmingham jail in 1963, the direct-action speeches of Malcolm X, and the illuminating correspondence of Douglass while in forced exile from his own country.

“What I have learned from playing these is the power of curiosity,” says Wallace. “Their desire for growth and personal development created a stronger desire for growth and personal development within the African-American people, who for centuries have been ridiculed, beaten, and killed in the pursuit of these virtues. Their voices are important now because they convict three entities that have consistently divided us throughout our country’s history: the Press, the Pulpit, and the Platform. The Press, as it relates to conservative and liberal media. The Platform, as it relates to our political parties. The pulpit, as it relates to organized religions that regularly act to condemn and that use their followers to support parties that encourage discrimination based on race, nationality, and culture.

“The ability of these men to transform themselves through the power of the written and spoken word gives us hope – and hope for future generations. They give us hope that through the power of these words we can transform our lives and manifest our destiny.”

Wallace’s theatre credits include Michigan Shakespeare Festival, Flint Youth Theater, Attic Theater, and Hattiloo Theater. He is currently a company member of Playhouse on the Square and Voices of the South. His movie and TV credits include Nothing but the Truth, Brian Banks, The World We Make, ABC’s Nashville, NBC’s Bluff City Law, and The Hallmark Channel’s Wedding At Graceland. He directed his own movie, 100 Lives, which is available on Amazon. He has worked as a speaking coach with Commercial Advisors, Nucor Steele, Sycamore Pictures, and TEDx Memphis.

The Salon’s title is taken partially from an excerpt from Dr. King’s Birmingham edited jail letter:

“We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. Frankly, I have yet to engage in a direct action campaign that was ‘well-timed’ in the view of those who have not suffered unduly from the disease of segregation. For years now I have heard the word ‘Wait!’ It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This ‘Wait’ has almost always meant ‘Never.’ We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that ‘justice too long delayed is justice denied.’

“Was not Jesus an extremist for love: ‘Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.’ And Abraham Lincoln: ‘This nation cannot survive half slave and half free.’ And Thomas Jefferson: ‘We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal . . .’ So the question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be.

“Will we be extremists for hate or for love? Will we be extremists for the preservation of injustice or for the extension of justice? Perhaps the South, the nation and the world are in dire need of creative extremists.”

Purchase tickets online at www.tnshakespeare.org or by calling (901) 759-0604 Monday-Friday from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm. The Salon will be available to patrons as both an in-person and digital online experience.

Online option:

The online presentation will show only once via a one-camera setup on TSC’s website with a time-stamped, specific password provided to patrons on the day of the Salon. The digital waiting room opens 15 minutes prior to curtain. All digital online tickets are $15.

In-person option:

In-person seating at the Tabor Stage is strictly limited to 54 socially-distanced patrons. Face coverings must be worn. Patrons must answer basic health screening positively and provide contact information prior to theatre entry. Patrons may select the preferred seating section, and TSC will then select socially-distanced seats based on the party’s size and the order in which tickets were purchased.

Tickets in Seating Section One are $25 in-person (Students $18/Seniors $22). Tickets in Seating Sections Two and Three are $18 in-person (Students $15/Seniors $18). Tickets must be purchased in advance of the Salon (not at the door), printed, and brought with patrons to the theatre. The house will open 30 minutes prior to curtain.

Credit Card charges require a $1 per-ticket fee. Schedule subject to change with notice. Free parking at TSC. There are no refunds/exchanges.

Tennessee Shakespeare Company’s 13th Performance Season Continues:

Salon curated by Carmen-maria Mandley

Sunday, September 27 at 3:00 pm

Like to a Lonely Dragon: Shakespeare’s Election of Coriolanus

Salon curated by Dan McCleary

Friday, October 9 at 8:00 pm

FREE Shout-Out Shakespeare:

Romeo and Juliet

a modern, pandemic production

by William Shakespeare

directed outdoors by Stephanie Shine

sponsored by Evans/Petree, P.C. and Campbell Clinic

October 13-24

Salon curated by Stephanie Shine and Dr. Diane Dombrowski

Friday, October 30 at 8:00 pm

From Dublin to the Sea: John M. Synge

Salon curated by Stephanie Shine

in honor of Pat and Ernest Kelly

Sunday, November 8 at 3:00 pm

A Little, Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving: Louisa May Alcott

Salon curated by Stephanie Shine

Sunday, November 22 at 3:00 pm

A Christmas Carol: Charles Dickens’ Dramatic Premier Reading in Boston

Salon curated and read by Dan McCleary

December 4-20

Salon curated by Stephanie Shine

Sunday, January 24, 2021 at 3:00 pm

Twelfth Night

comedy by William Shakespeare

directed by Stephanie Shine

on the Owen and Margaret Wellford Tabor Stage

February 25 – March 7, 2021

The Elizabethan Feast: Gala Benefit

a fun, breezy party to benefit our Education Program

on the Owen and Margaret Wellford Tabor Stage

sponsored by TSC’s Board of Directors

Saturday, April 24, 2021 at 6:00 pm

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