Saturday, January 5, 2008

Unsolicited Advice

Watch the mini-series Roots with your children.

Some of us remember how the entire country watched that film, a shared cultural experience now lost to us in this age of cable, YouTube, video blogs and all the rest.

Scarlett's current play is Almost to Freedom, adapted from Vaunda Michaeux Nelson's book by local writer Kim Hines. I've been around this children's theater block a few times now, and this one stands out on several levels.

First, the book is a must-read in your child's world. It is haunting and utterly devastating in its ability to convey the despair of slavery. Second, the adaption is phenomenal and the music, foot-tapping.

But what I love most about this gig is the director. He's African-American, as is most of the cast, and he is giving these children History 101, with passion. Scarlett came home with a bibliography! The director also sent parents and cast a letter asking the child actors (most of whom are actually teenagers) to refrain from perms, hair dye or decor for the next two months so they look 18th century authentic. Quite a challenge, given the range of complex hair currently sported.

Inspired by the spirit of the director, we got Roots.

We're only about three hours in. Stryker complains that this is the most disturbing movie he's ever seen. "It makes me uneasy and tense just to watch this, Mom."

As it should, honey. As it should.

1 comment:

Mrs. G. said...

Wow. This takes me back. I remember my ENTIRE family gathering on Sunday nights to watch Roots. And since I grew up in Tennessee and many of my relatives were hardcore racists, the conversation during commercial breaks could get quite rowdy.
Yes, if Roots doesn't make you uncomfortable