Ella Naylor greeted people as they came in. "The work of the theater is to portray the human condition," she said, "And this IS the human condition," she said. ("This," of course, was a reference to the distress many are feeling as a result of the current political climate.)
Annette Trosbach, the Theater's Artistic Director, was distributing copies of the speech with highlighted lines to members of the diverse audience. Some people seemed eager to read. (Perhaps not surprisingly, I fell into this category.) Others were a bit reluctant. A little girl behind me said she didn't know how to read yet.
|Organizers Annette Trosbach and Ella Naylor|
As moving as it was, the original is still better. Click here to watch MLK's speech on YouTube.
After the recitation, Abdul'Haq Muhammed and Cesare Frustaci spoke. Mr. Muhammed is an African-American Muslim and Mr. Frustaci is a Holocaust survivor. Both men spoke eloquently, but it was Mr. Muhammed's exhortation of "Don't curse the darkness, light a candle" that most inspired me.
"It's easy," he explained, "For things to get ugly and to react to negativity. It's easy to be discouraged. But we must identify the place in our community where we can make a difference. Give back. Inspire young people. Create opportunities of hope."