Ted Lange’s Play, on the John Brown Raid, is a Masterpiece
Last night, as promised, (in a prior Blog) I went to see the new Play entitled: “The Journals of Osborne P. Anderson, at Theatre -Theater on West Pico Blvd. in Mid-Wilshire, Los Angeles. It was opening night and ,of course Mr. Lange was there in person, since he is the Writer and the Director. His lovely wife Mary Lange was there, she happens, to be the Producer. I’m an African-Native American Activist, with a heritage connection to John Brown’s story, so I, also, “couldn’t miss, being there”. The Play was simple a Masterpiece and I’m glad I didn’t miss it.
My ancestors, included people , who fought in the War against Slavery, better known as the U.S. Civil War. They fought, along side White Officers, who had ridden with John Brown during the Bleeding Kansas era, just prior to the War of Rebellion. They were members of the “First Indian Home Guard” and the “First Kansas Colored Infantry” formed in Kansas, by Senator James Lane a fellow Warrior Abolitionist and Comrade in Arms with John Brown, during the undeclared war in Kansas. Senator Jim Lane was portrayed in the Clint Eastwood Epic , “The Outlaw Josey Wales”. Captain John Brown’s Guerrilla activity helped start the U.S. Civil War, but unfortunately, he didn’t live to participate in it.
Therefore, I’m a Descendant of Seminoles, Seminole Maroons and African Creeks who served in these units under Captain John Brown influenced military men, who openly strove, to keep his spirit alive. Many soldiers on the Union side did the same. However, when my Seminole Maroon Ancestors, returned to Indian Territory after the war, they become part of the Seminole Nation’s, Indian Bands system, two of the Bands were Black Seminole Maroons , I had direct Ancestors, in both, they chose to be called, the John Brown Band and the Jim Lane Band, again keeping the spirit of these two White Warrior Abolitionists alive.
I came, to know about Mr. Ted Lange, like everyone else did, by seeing him on America’s Number One TV Show. I’m certainly not a Theater Critic, but I am an Alumnus of C. Bernard Jackson’s, Inner City Cultural Center, Where I studied for a goodly some of years, under great thespians like Academy Award nominated ,for “Best Actress”, Ms Beah Richards and the highly esteemed Mr. Glynn Turman. In truth, the peak, of my performance background at ICCC was participating in the Semi- Finals and the Finals, of Mr. Ted Langes, prestigious Ira Aldridge competitions, as a cast member. I’ve known for years that Mr. Ted Lange was a “consummate professional and a class act”.
However, after experiencing last nights performance, of “The Journals of Osborne P. Anderson, for me, Ted Lange became the “Heavyweight Champion of the World”. As a writer, he superbly wove a historical document into, the humanity, that each character possessed. Bringing to life, each person’s, vulnerabilities, their passions and their bottom line for taking part in what would become, a suicide mission, for all except Osborne P. Anderson. The odds that they faced were overwhelming and their captors, learned, one by one that they put the struggle, above their own lives.
In Mr. Lange’s direction of the Play, he became Cap’n Brown, and like John Brown, Ted Lange, demanded, nothing less than full commitment from his Actors, in the process, of achieving each Actor’s character and they all did a marvelous job. I won’t pick out an individual performance, they were all memorable. To me, their greatest accomplishment, was that of the ENSEMBLE.
When, I dedicated myself, to become an Activist, working under a vow of poverty, my purpose was to “expand the world’s body of knowledge about my Ancestors and to do it with Truth and Dignity” Everyone involved in this show has helped me, do that . The power of this inter-racial cast is that it gives, all of us, ” A New Coming to America”. Mama America, is not perfect, but she is still our Motherland, Ted Lange and Company, helped “Birth dat Baby” on Pico Blvd.
The world always knew that “Issac” was “The Man as a Bartender on a Boat, Full of Love”, well it turns out ,that Mr. Ted Lange, is also, one terrific Midwife. Thanks, to him, “The Journal Osborne P. Anderson” is a worthy addition to America’s must see Repertory of Plays.
“Through Warm Tears of Gratitude”, Phil “Pompey Bruner” Fixico, Seminole Maroon Descendant, Featured in the SmithsonianInstitutions, book and exhibit, entitled: “indiVisible”; African-Native American Lives in the Americas”and Private-Sector-Partner for the National Underground Railroad/Network to Freedom 1998 Act.