Compelling play is headed to the mid-south - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Posted by: Alisa Nave, 7/5/04, 10:00pm

Compelling play is headed to the mid-south

By: Donna Davis

Strong emotions abound in playwright John Henry Redwood's "No Niggers, No Jews, No Dogs." The drama leads us through the struggles of a black family hosting a Jewish scholar in the 1940's south. The wife is raped by a white man and must choose to either call it an affair; or tell her husband; who will surely be killed if he seeks revenge. It was a time and place that had a profound impact on the playwright. The in-your-face title was taken from a sign he saw during his travels. "You know the word nigger is a part of the title, and there are some people who are upset about that. But, you know, No Niggers, No Jews, No dogs. Signs like this were all over the south. It's part of our history," said Director Tony Horne. The play has only toured six U.S. cities since it's creation in 2001 and Memphis is the first major southern city to see the play. Given the city's tainted history and current racial divide; organizers thought it was a play that Memphians needed to see. "The "NO Blacks" sign at the Civil rights museum required no shipping costs. They were found right here. They appeared all over town. And the "NO JEWS" signs at country clubs and hotels were also right here at businesses," said Rabbi Micah Greenstein of the Temple Israel. "And it's just another format for letting, not only African Americans, but all Americans realize the tremendous struggle that minorities have had to endure to come to this place and this time," said Johnnie Turner with the NAACP. Organizers hope that ultimately, looking at our past will lead us toward a better future. "As an artist, we always hope that art will spark conversations and help people see things in a different light. We always hope that, but that might not always be the case. But if nothing else, if people have conversations about these things, if it sparks a conversation between two different races, then that's enough for me." Playhouse on the Square opens it's 2004-2005 season with the play "No Niggers, No Jews, No Dogs." It begins it's Memphis the last week of July.

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