Ohio State Murders

Ohio State Murders

Ohio State Murders

Written by Adrienne Kennedy

In 1949, Suzanne Alexander (Artis) is accepted to Ohio State University as an English Major. No big deal except she’s black and this makes everyone very uncomfortable because, well, she’s black. Professor Hampshire (Stephen Lewis) sets her on a course of reading Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the D’Urbervilles and she tears into it. But will she be allowed into her sophomore year, considering there are entire streets she’s not allowed to walk on? It seems the novelty of a black English major wears off quickly she threatens the status quo by her mere existence.

There’s plenty of dangerous themes in here, and Ms. Alexander is one of those pioneers that came out of life with a back full of arrows. Up until this time, some sort of rights for negros were a theoretical argument, and her we see theory crumble in the face of hard, experimental facts. “Black rights are best exercised somewhere else, by someone else” and her we see the fine grain hypocrisy detailed in a finely tuned societal rejection. This show may be the best on-line show I’ve seen streamed. Each scene is a small vignette and the actors relate to each other in separate digital crate emphasized their isolation and territorial claims. Academia “thinks ” Suzanne will fail, but rather than let her sink or swim on her own merits, they help her by tripping her, tying a rock around her career, and not letting her attend the parties that bind university life. Civil rights are good idea, just not her, just not now, and just not for Suzanne.


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