Call Mr Robeson is playing in Wellington until March 1 as part of the NZ Fringe. Its first week sold out, but if you’re quick you can get tickets here
You can read about the NZ Fringe show in this article
You can read more about the play and see a trailer here
I saw it over the weekend and it is a powerful piece of theatre.
Tayo Aluko wrote and performs the play and was generous enough to take some time out to speak with me about the play.
Paul Robeson is a great and famous actor, singer and civil rights campaigner.
When over the years he gets progressively too radical and outspoken for the establishment’s liking, he is branded a traitor to his country, harassed, and denied opportunities to perform or travel.
Just as physical, emotional and mental stress threaten to push him over the fine line between genius and madness, he is summoned to appear before the House Un-American Activities Committee, to give the most difficult and important performance of his career.
The play is a roller coaster journey through Robeson’s remarkable and eventful life, and highlights how his radical activism caused him to be disowned and “disremembered”, even by the leaders and descendants of the civil rights movement.
It features much fiery oratory and some of his famous songs, including a dramatic rendition of Ol’ Man River.
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Or you can listen to it here:
Episode 11: Pip Adam talks with Tayo Aluko about his play Call Mr Robeson: A Life, With Songs