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Sunday, February 13, 8:00 am

Obie-winning Elevator Repair Service Theater Company

A virtual presentation available 8am Sunday, February 13 through 5pm, Thursday, February 17th.
Plus live online interactive discussion with the show’s director and actors: 7pm, Thursday, February 17th

Online. A link for viewing the event will be provided to ticket buyers prior to the start date.

Tickets: Free. You need to “buy” the free ticket to receive the link to view the event.

In 1965 writer/activist James Baldwin and conservative arbiter William F. Buckley, Jr. were invited to the UK’s Cambridge University Union to debate the resolution “The American Dream is at the Expense of The American Negro.” The groundbreaking Obie-winning NYC theater troupe, Elevator Repair Service, re-creates Baldwin and Buckley’s profoundly relevant confrontation in Baldwin and Buckley at Cambridge.

The rapt audience at the Cambridge debate match voted Baldwin the winner by a vote of 544-164. Despite the victory, Baldwin felt stung by the encounter, calling Buckley “the intellectuals’ James Bond.” Buckley, never one to admit defeat, called the night at Cambridge, “the most satisfying debate I ever had.”

Baldwin and Buckley at Cambridge had its first work-in-progress showings in January of 2020 at Abrons Art Center’s Underground Theater. Our staging will be a virtual presentation recorded at Montclair State College – followed by a live interactive virtual conversation/Q & A with the show’s director, John Collins and actors, including April Matthis, Gavin Price, Greig Sargeant, Christopher Rashee Stevenson and Ben Williams.

Founded in 1991 by Artistic Director John Collins, Elevator Repair Service (ERS) creates original works with an ongoing ensemble. ERS’s theater pieces are built round a broad range of subject matter and literary forms; they combine elements of slapstick comedy, hi-tech and lo-tech design, both literary and found text, and the group’s own highly developed style of choreography.

ERS creates its performances through extended periods of collaboration. A typical development cycle includes 4-6 intensive work periods within a 2-year period, which conclude with work-in-progress showings. Time off between development is filled with touring and presentations of finished works. Following completion, the piece is presented in NYC for an extended run and is toured throughout the US and abroad.

ERS creations include their critically-acclaimed 2010 production of Gatz, adapted from the Great Gatsby. Lead NY Times theater critic, Ben Brantley called it “The most remarkable achievement in theater not only of this year but also of this decade.”

“The famous Baldwin-Buckley debate still matters today. In 1965, two American titans faced off on the subject of the country’s racial divides. Nearly 55 years later, the event has lost none of its relevance.”—The Atlantic