Friday, January 11, 2008

The People Speak

A few days ago I went to the taping, in Boston, of a TV miniseries called "The People Speak." It's about Howard Zinn's book "A People's History of the United States." The taping consisted of very moving historical readings of “documents of resistance” by some known and unknown historical figures. They were performed (read) by Marisa Tomei, Viggo Mortensen, Danny Glover, Josh Brolin, David Strathairn, Kerry Washington and Q'Orianka Kilcher, and there was also a musical performance by John Legend.

There were four tapings in Boston, with a different theme each time. The themes were of war, class, race and the struggle of women. The night I went, it focused on war, and the readings ranged from Christopher Columbus in 1492, to the present day. I found the September 11th readings were especially powerful.

The mini series is expected to be available to the public in September, I think.

While listening to the readings, I couldn't help but also focus on the backdrop. There were seven folding screens, with black cutouts on a white background, of people throughout history. There was no mention in the program,, but it looked to me that they may have been created by Kara Walker, or it may have been Kara Walker influenced.