THE TALLEST TREE OF THE FOREST
OCT 26TH - NOV 13TH / 2016
Written and performed by
Directed by Moisés Kaufman
The Tallest Tree in the Forest is a solo-play with music about the life of one of the most dynamic figures in American History - PAUL ROBESON.
Paul Robeson was a scholar, an athlete, an activist, a vocalist, and an actor of stage and screen. He was an attorney, an acclaimed actor, and one of the finest bass-baritone singers the nation has known. He could speak and write and sing in 20 different languages. He was an eloquent and outspoken advocate for civil rights and social justice, expressing pride, vision and determination that moved multitudes.
Born the son of a slave, he rose to the heights of fame. He was celebrated by the elite and was the voice of the everyman around the world. Then, he saw it all crumble during the McCarthy Area as questions of his Communist involvement arose. He actively opposed racism, refusing to sing before segregated audiences and picketing the White House. He also started a crusade against lynching and urged Congress to outlaw the practice that kept African Americans from playing major league baseball. In every aspect of his extraordinary life, he dedicated himself to struggles and causes, never compromising, even when his political opinions made him unpopular and when confronting those who would restrict his freedom of speech.
The play opens on the day a 77 year-old Paul Robeson has had a stroke, and then journeys in a non-linear fashion through defining moments in his life. Employing multi-character transformation, monologues, narrative scenes, heightened poetry, and video footage of the era, this theatrical work explores the evolution of Paul Robeson as an artist/activist, his humanity, his courage, his contradictions, and why many call him the Tallest Tree in the Forest.