By Zach Dunkin
On the day when Americans learned of Martin Luther King Jr’s assassination, people in cities across the country reacted turbulently in expressing their grief in violent upheaval. Indianapolis, however, encouraged by Robert Kennedy’s plea for peace delivered at what is now known as the Kennedy King Park just north of downtown Indy, remained one of the few peaceful cities in the country.
Inspired by Indianapolis stories gathered from five years of interviews with the people who endured the event is the platform for the world premiere of “April 4, 1968: Before We Forgot How to Dream” by playwright-in-residence, James Still.
Still said the main thing that stood out from the interviews was the number of optimistic high school and college students who made it their charge to attend what they thought was the beginning of Kennedy’s campaign. Unfortunately, Kennedy himself would be assassinated just two months following King’s death.
“Knowing this made me think about how these events affected and would affect young people in their lives,” said Still. “So, my play focuses on multigenerational reactions to the events of that night.”
The play focuses a girl named Geneva, a bubbling African-American sophomore at Shortridge High School as she experiences a political and social awakening that throws her into the events of that tragic day. Played by Christina Harper, Geneva hopes for a better future and takes an active role in the changes in the world she sees happening around her.
Janet Allen, IRT’s executive artistic director, believes the play will spark audience conversations around the issues of the play and will focus community awareness on the events that took place.
For more, visit IRTlive.com.
April 4, 1968: Before We Forgot How to Dream
Where: Upperstage at the Indiana Repertory Theatre, 140 W. Washington St.
When: Oct. 20 through November 15.
Tickets: $25 -59 adults, $20 students.