Debate: Baldwin vs Buckley
Author(s): Christopher McElroen
Company: Stone Nest and the american vicarious
On 18 February 1965 James Baldwin, the leading literary voice of the civil rights movement was invited to speak at the Cambridge University Union in a televised debate. The motion was ‘The American Dream is at the Expense of the American Negro’. Opposing him was America’s most influential conservative intellectual William F Buckley Jr.
The stage was set for an epic confrontation that pitted Baldwin’s call for a moral revolution in race relations against Buckley’s unabashed elitism and implicit commitment to white supremacy. The production frames the live staging with video of the original debate and reveals, 58 years later, the deep roots and lasting legacy of racial conflict that continues to haunt America today.
Reprising their roles are Teagle F Bougere (Broadway’s The Tempest with Patrick Stewart and Ivo Van Hove’s The Crucible) as Baldwin and Eric T Miller as Buckley and joining them in the cast from the UK is Christopher Wareham and Tom Kiteley.