Friday, May 25, 2018

Frederick Douglass’s Irish Transformation

I currently live in the Maryland county where Douglass was born and so find his Irish experience to be fascinating. From The Irish Times:
This year marks the bicentenary of Douglass’s birth. To mark the occasion Solas Nua, an American arts company focusing on contemporary Irish drama, has commissioned a piece that celebrates Douglass’s connection to Ireland. In 1845, Douglass embarked on a lecture tour of Britain and Ireland, spending four months in Ireland. The episode, which is fictionally portrayed in Colum McCann’s novel TransAtlantic, was to have a profound effect on his thinking.

Standing at the edge of the pier with artistic director Rex Daugherty, he points out the house across the river in Anacostia where Douglass lived. To our right, the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge looms large on the horizon. “This area played an important role in Douglass’s own life. A few streets away is the church where he gave his final sermon, just across the river is his home, so it was important for us to create a site-specific work” explains Daugherty. “Staging the piece on the water is also deeply symbolic, given his experience working in the shipyards in Baltimore and the journey he took across the Atlantic.” (Read more.)

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