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A Lesson Before Dying, by A play by Romulus Linney based on the novel by Ernest J. Gaines
My Soul Stirred...
Thursday, November 6, 2008
4.0
This stage adaptation by Romulus Linney(from the novel by Ernest J. Gaines) directed by Jill Jane Clements is splendidly acted. Tearful sniffles easily outnumbered the snores at Saturdayís show, but "Lesson" is one of those well-done, virtuous shows that inspire both. If you missed the HBO movie or Oprahís book club, itís 1948 in Louisana, an innocent young black man named Jefferson has been accused of murder and is destined for the electric chair, of course, he didnít do it, but who cares, itís 1948 before the civil rights movement. Jeffersonís lawyer calls him a ďhogĒ, hoping to sway white jurors about his innocent, due to Jeffersonís low self-esteem he believes the lawyer.(Mr. Wiggins) His grade school teacher, recruited by his godmother hopes to educate Jefferson about his sentence and the consequences. Wiggins feels as trapped as Jefferson, heís a college educated teacher who feels obligated to give back to a community that he hates. "A Lesson Before Dying" is a stirring evening in the theatre, a play that could serve as a fine lesson to young people who might otherwise become latter-day Jeffersons. And if not that, maybe it will encourage them to pick up Mr. Gaines' book. Recommended for age 16 and above, for adult themes and language.

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