In Actor’s Express’ upcoming production, a slave is offered freedom if he fights for the Confederacy. The play, called “Father Comes Home from the Wars (Parts 1, 2, and 3),” is by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks.
This is not a traditional historical drama. For one, it loosely uses Homer’s “The Odyssey” as its storytelling mechanism. Also, director Martin Damien Wilkins explained that the vernacular of today is used throughout the story.
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“Parks really brings this into the present with the vernacular,” Wilkins said in an interview with Lois Reitzes. “What we hope is that when the audience sees it, these characters are experiencing things that we are experiencing now even in our own current cultural landscape.”
This epic play is also an epic length: three hours. But Wilkins encourages everyone to put down the “Netflix and chill” ethos and see the production.
“We are making a pact with the audience to join us to say, ‘We will take you on an incredible journey,'” he said. “You have one of the most incredible playwrights, and it is top-notch drama from her. And it is definitely a serious subject, but she writes with love and humor, and we really wanted to bring that into this production.”
“Father Comes Home from the Wars (Parts 1, 2, and 3)” opens this Saturday at Actor’s Express and runs through June 11. You can hear more from Wilkins and actor Evan Cleaver, who plays the main character Hero, in the interview above.