Stage Aurora gives Jacksonville audiences a rare opportunity to see an early work by the great American writer James Baldwin. “The Amen Corner” will be on stage at 5188 Norwood Ave inside Gateway Town Center, until December 13. For tickets call (904) 756-7372 or visit ticketleap.com.
Baldwin wrote only one other play, “Blues for Mr. Charlie,” and we cannot recall either being done locally. Of course, his many novels are available at the library and can be ordered at any bookstore. Baldwin is on several lists of the 100 Greatest African Americans. Baldwin also holds the distinction of being one of the few playwrights/novelists to have his image on a United States Postage Stamp (2005).
“The Amen Corner” is considered a somewhat autobiographical look at life in Harlem in the 1950s, with a number of parallels to Baldwin’s life. It is about Sister Margaret, a church Pastor, her family and her congregation. Sister Margaret is a demanding role and is played convincingly and charismatically by ANGIE PICKENS. (This role has been double cast and you may be seeing STACI ANDERSON when you go to a show).
Sister Margaret is totally devoted to her religion and very strict about what she believes is God’s word. She is critical of members who do not live up to the standards of her church. Brother Boxer (JOIAKIN FOSTER) is a sinner for making a living by driving a truck to deliver liquor to stores. His wife Sister Boxer (ALVENIA DERBAN) is also a sinner; she works as a maid who serves drinks to her wealthy employers. (Alternately, CHARLES WALKER and AMBER HOLLAND are double-cast in these roles).