This here is a photo of me and two of my dear friends. The one in the middle is Fariso Jordan. She is a performance major at Fordham University. We took the photo after the premiere of Wedding Band by Alice Childress which was directed by Daniel Alexander Jones. I went to see the show for many reasons but the main reason is because I read that it dealt with miscegenation in America during World War I.
I had never heard of the playwright, Alice Childress until Ms. Jordan invited me to the show. Apparently, she is a Black women who wrote Wedding Band in 1966 and it didn’t get a premiere until 1972. From the little I learned about her, she seems to be similar to her character in the show, Julia Augustine. They both are often described as women before their time or as Bayard Rustin would say, a women of the times but the times didn’t know it yet.
Alice Childress was in a relationship with a white man during the early 18th Century and stayed in the relationship because she loved him and he loved her. She boldly broke the rules of her times and of her world. As the director said, She is, some might argue, a quintessentially American character- the outsider, the rebel, the outlaw. I think it is interesting that they were both willingly in the relationship at this time. I mean, this is a time when Black women are being forced in some parts of the south to lay with their masters and here she is in South Carolina in a relationship with a white man- willingly. It almost seems awkward.
And if the play is not awkward enough, it is written by Childress during the mid 60’s when America is finally waking up to obeying (or trying to obey) their Deceleration of Independence: All, people are indeed equal. It’s no wonder that it didn’t have a premiere until 6 years later.
When change is happening, it is hard for society. It is weird and strange. One might often wonder, ‘what kind of world am I living in?’ And I am sure the way I feel about things going on now in the world and in America is the way people of the early 18th Century and especially those of the 60’s felt.
I do not think that Childress, or Julia Augustine were women ahead of their times. I think they were women of their time- whose charge was to pull the future into being…we hope you will accept the call, to open your eyes wide, stretch your fingers past the limits of your known experience, and dream our future brighter still.
– Daniel Alexander Jones