Second sight is defined as “the supposed ability to perceive future or distant events.” While there is no scientific evidence that second sight exists, the insight from copious years of experience is license enough to speak on what the future has in store. INSIGHT / SECOND SIGHT: Celebrating The Journey of Veteran Artists is an occasion to envision the past, present and future. The event – conceived and directed by Seret Scott and presented by Dr. Barbara Ann Teer’s National Black Theatre Communication Arts Program – will be Saturday, Oct. 17, at National Black Theatre.
Among the veteran artists are: playwright/screenwriter Richard Wesley, 70; founding director of New Federal Theatre Woodie King Jr., 78; and actor/director Arthur French, 84. They will share memories and reflections chronicling their rich, artistic lives.
Wesley, associate professor at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and chair of the Rita and Burton Goldberg Department of Dramatic Writing. His 1971 play The Black Terror, produced at the New York Shakespeare Festival’s Public Theatre, was a Drama Desk winner, produced at the New York Shakespeare Festival’s Public Theatre. He wrote the screenplays for Uptown Saturday Night (1974) and it’s follow-up Let’s Do It Again (1975), both which starred Bill Cosby and Sidney Poitier. His The Mighty Gents, an Audelco Award winner, premiered on Broadway in 1978, while The Talented Tenth (1989) was inspired by W.E.B. Du Bois’ 1903 article of the same name.
French, an original member of Negro Ensemble Company led by Douglas Turner Ward, made his Broadway debut in Melvin Van Peebles’ Ain’t Supposed To Die a Natural Death. Having films credits with “Car Wash” (1976), Julie Delpy’s “2 Days In New York” (2012) and Spike Lee’s “Red Hook Summer” (2012), French has thrived on smaller stages. He received a Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Featured Actor in Peter Norton Space’s 2006 production of Two Trains Running.
King, who founded New Federal Theater in 1970, received Atlanta Black Theatre Fesitival’s 2014 Theatre Legend Award and was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame in 2011. His production work has included several installments of Ron Milner’s Checkmates; August Wilson’s The Piano Lesson and Joe Turner’s Come and Gone; Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun; Samm-Art Williams’ Home; and Howard Simon’s James Baldwin: A Soul on Fire.
Other artists to be celebrated include: photographer Dwight Carter and founding member of The Last Poets Abiodun Oyewole, 67. Interestingly, Oct. 17 is recognized as National Black Poetry Day. All the featured artists are poets in their own right.
Scott, an actress, director, playwright and cultural historian, has Off-Broadway and regional theater credits that include The Old Globe in San Diego, Yale Rep and Roundabout Theater in New York. She won a Drama Desk Award for her Broadway debut in My Sister, My Sister.
The event starts at 7pm. The National Black Theatre is located at 2031 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10035.