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Watch Roger Guenveur Smith's Riveting Performance In 'Frederick Douglass NOW'

by Tambay A. Obenson
January 9, 2013 1:03 PM
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Frederick Douglass NOW

I thought this would be fitting, given all the conversation about slavery as edutainment

Roger Guenveur Smith's Frederick Douglass NOW - a monologue inspired by the life and work of abolitionist Frederick Douglass.

A work that Smith has performed for about 20 years now, speaking of contemporary remixes of styles and stories, it comprises of edited piece of Douglass' 19th Century texts, mixed into Smith's own original writing to produce an edgy, stylistic, jazz-infused narrative mash-up that could very be the blueprint for an exciting feature-length screenplay.

Originally commissioned at the La MaMa Experimental Theater Club in New York, Smith has performed Frederick Douglass NOW at prestigious venues on both sides of the Atlantic.

It's what you could call a beast of a performance, with some excellent writing; and is worth watching if you've never seen it.

Thankfully, I found this 2011 performance of it at Wellesley College's Newhouse Center:

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  • Irene Keene | February 5, 2013 9:48 AMReply

    I am very much aware of this brilliant man. I already have his performance A Huey P. Newton Story on DVD. Where can I purchase this performance Frederick Douglass NOW on DVD? Roger is a gem. I hope he makes it to Broadway in Chicago's stage one day.

  • Adam Scott Thompson | January 20, 2013 5:50 PMReply

    The man's a force of nature.

  • Davyjc | January 19, 2013 8:45 PMReply

    One of the world's greatest living performers. A writer, director and actor, Roger needs to have his own cable series.

  • ASWILLIAMS | January 18, 2013 12:16 PMReply

    Another amazing and spellbounding performance by the great Roger Guenveur Smith. He never fails to amaze me. He should be in more great roles like this. He isn`t given his just due enough in cinema.

  • curious1 | January 9, 2013 7:47 PMReply

    ROGER GUENVEUR SMITH! All I can say is ,WOW!
    This is amazing - should be on HBO, Showtime or maybe Starz which
    did his incredible A HUEY P NEWTON STORY???

  • PK | January 9, 2013 4:40 PMReply

    He's so good. I've watched his performance as Huey P. Newton on tv a few times.

    I wonder why he doesn't crossover as well in film. Perhaps he's not easy to cast racially for some reason?

  • sandra | January 9, 2013 2:08 PMReply

    Can't watch the video at this time, but...this man is a treasure! I love what he puts out.

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