Title: William’s Leap For Freedom
Producer: SueMedia Productions
Type: Historical Drama
Availability: Donation – SueMedia Productions / ZBS
Greetings, Audionauts – Captain Radio here with a review of SueMedia Productions’s William’s Leap For Freedom.
Within his lifetime, William Wells Brown became America’s first bonafide Black novelist, playwright, and travelogue. Now, thanks to a serendipitous collaboration, this self-made literary’s challenging and sometime’s unblinking drama, Leap For Freedom, becomes the focus of a distinguished independent audio production.
After successfully staging Dr. Cheryl Black’s original adaptation of the play for the 2008 Missouri History in Performance Theater, the Missouri State Historical Society approached veteran audio producer, Sue Zizza, who recognized the script’s audio potential. Zizza recruited director Renee Pringle and producer David Shinn to continue working with Dr. Black on a further audio adaptation for performance at the 2010 National Audio Theater Festival Workshop in West Plains, Missouri. That effort produced an emotional and essential recording about the ostensible Father of Black Literature in America.
Though the NATF audio features an imaginative dialog between Wells Brown and a prospective drama producer, followed by lively excerpted scenes from the play itself, it opens with intriguing detailed historical background narrated ably by host Dion Graham:
Years after William became house playmate to his slave master’s son, the extended household moved to St. Louis where some slaves were “let out” to earn for the master as described here by Mirron E. Willis who enthusiastically and punctually voices Wells Brown:
After many failed attempts to escape, Brown succeeded ironically on New Year’s Day, 1834. Then, following two decades as an underground railroad operator and outspoken abolitionist in both America and Europe, Wells Brown focused on producing his own dramas that highlighted contemporary American self-deception about racial bigotry, particularly among those of faith, as the following scene illustrates:
Ralph Ellison devastatingly re-visited this Wells Brownian view of compartmentalized American racism in his 1953 National Book Award-winning novel, Invisible Man, just as American Blacks began non-violently to assert their national right to political, social, and economic freedom in modern society.
The Audio Publishers Association (APA) nominated William’s Leap For Freedom for an Audie® Award in the category Best Original Work.
Final awards will be announced during the Audies® Gala in New York City’s TimesCenter, May 24th, 2011.
You can listen now to William’s Leap For Freedom on the Audio Drama Showcase channel at captainradio.com or by visiting the production web site at prx.org, where radio stations can also obtain a copy for on-air broadcast.
Until next time, Audionauts, this is Captain Radio, signing off![audio:http://media.blubrry.com/radiodramarevival/www.radiodramarevival.com/captradio/captain-radio-suemedia-productions-leap-for-freedom.mp3]