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NEW PLAY 'BALTIMORE' ADDRESSES RACE, WILL BE STAGED AT U. MD

Written by , The Baltimore Sun

Photo Courtesy of Jared Shaubert

The University of Maryland, College Park is staging a play that explores racial tensions on a college campus that was loosely inspired by a poem written during the Harlem Renaissance by the African-American trailblazer Countee Cullen.

So struck was playwright Kirsten Greenidge by a poem called "The Incident" that she titled her play, "Baltimore" -- though the drama in fact is set in New England. In both fictional works, "Baltimore" is used as a kind of shorthand reference for race-related disputes.

In Cullen's poem, an unnamed narrator recalls being wounded by an ethnic slur when he was a small child. The poem concludes:

"I saw the whole of Baltimore / From May until December; / Of all the things that happened there / That's all that I remember."

The play, which opens next weekend, is told through the point of view of Shelby, a 20-year-old African-American student at a small New England college. Her illusions that her generation is post-racial are shattered after a white student creates an offensive drawing on a black student's dorm room door.
 
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Date of Publication: 
2/17/16