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Julia Taylor's Influence On African American Theatre

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Examination 2 There are many black men and women who have contributed to the advancement of theatre in the African American community through acting, directing, playwriting, choreography and much more. Trailblazers such as, August Wilson, Ntozake Shange, and Pearl Cleage have all used theatre to change the way African Americans in theatre are viewed. Regina Taylor is also a part of this group. Taylor has greatly influenced the African American theatre community through her acting, playwriting, and directing. However, before one can know how Taylor has influenced African American theatre, one must know how it began. African American theatre began as a farcical portrayal of black life. Blackface and “cooning” were common practices. The first…show more content…
in theatre in 1981 from Southern Methodist University (Hill 465). Taylor also helped usher in a new era for African American theatre by becoming the first black female to ever play Juliet in Romeo and Juliet on Broadway. She became a pioneer for actresses such as Condola Rashad, who also played Juliet on Broadway, by taking on roles that black women would not have been considered for in times past. She was also in two other Shakespearean productions, Macbeth and As You Like It (Hill 465). Taylor not only established herself in the theatre world but also in the world of television and film. She won a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Drama and received an Emmy Award nomination for her role in the series “I’ll Fly Away” (Peterson 327). Her most recent role is in the show Dig, which premiered in March 2015 and ended in May…show more content…
Taylor “was struck by the Chekhov characters ' link to the past, as descendants of serfs – enslaved servants in Russia” (Jones). Taylor set her version in South Carolina, where many generations of black families have lived. She saw the parallels between a Russian family that was attached to the slavery of their past and an African American family that struggled to keep their children connected to the sacrifices of their ancestors. Her strength of combining different cultural thoughts of theatre has expanded African American theatre because she has made it more relevant and relatable to people of other cultures. It shows people how similar they are to those who seem exceptionally different. This leaves very little room for stereotypes and much more for
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