‘Wine in the Wilderness’ transports audience to Harlem riots in 1964

The drama “Wine in the Wilderness” may be on stage in Red Bank, but it transports the audience to Harlem in 1964.

Oct 21, 2022, 2:59 AM

Updated 635 days ago

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The drama “Wine in the Wilderness” may be on stage in Red Bank, but it transports the audience to Harlem in 1964.
As a riot unfolds in the streets, life also becomes unsettled in the apartment of an artist. He is looking for a model to complete his series of three paintings depicting Black womanhood. When his friends meet a woman who they think fits the persona the artist is looking for, she is reluctant and becomes suspicious of their motives. Nicknamed Tommy, short for Tomorrow, the role is played by Crystal Dickinson.
"There is something that feels very important to me right now about reminding people to see one another,” says Dickinson. "Not what you think you see, not what you want to see...but to stand in front of someone and say, ‘Who are you?’”
“Wine in the Wilderness” is written by the late playwright Alice Childress, and is directed by Brandon J. Dirden, who says the riot is a fitting backdrop for what plays out.
"The riot is outside, and the riot is meant to be, as Martin Luther King Jr. said, are language of the unheard. Let's just say some of the riot comes inside but in an unexpected fashion," says Dirden.
Dickinson and Dirden, who is also an actor, are married to each other and live in New Jersey. They long have an association with Two River Theater where “Wine in the Wilderness” is playing. The show is scheduled to run through Nov. 6.


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