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In recent years, Dallas Theater Center artistic director Kevin Moriarty has proven adept at drawing contemporary allusions in classic works, illuminating issues of race, class, and sex. You have ample opportunity to see for yourself, since this production of Molière’s The School for Wives is running concurrently with Euripides’ Medea, and Moriarty is directing both. Why are Euripides’ tragedy and Molière’s comedy paired together as part of DTC’s Classical Theater initiative? The connection is there. We’ll let you tease it out after seeing both shows.
Jonathan Norton’s new play—named for the deceptively jaunty, charged Nina Simone song written in response to the same tragic injustice from which he derives his story—is set in 1950s Mississippi and follows the life and work of civil rights activists Myrlie and Medgar Evers. In June 1963, Medgar was shot and killed in his own driveway; it took more than 30 years to convict white supremacist Byron De La Beckwith of the crime. In light of the past and present state of the justice system that just last year declined to indict the two white police officers who killed two unarmed black men in two separate parts of the country, Simone’s furious lyrics (“Oh, but this whole country is full of lies/You’re all gonna die and die like flies”) ring just as true.
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