directed by Bill Mitchelson
music composed and directed by Olu Dara
with Randy Frazier, LeLand Gantt, Earl Hagan, Rande Harris, Lawrence James, Robert Jason, Mitchell Marchand, Jasper McGruder, Eugene Nesmith, Monte Russell
The Harold Clurman Theatre
Let Me Live is based on the autobiography of labor-union advocate Angelo P. Herndon. After organizing thousands of destitute white and black workers to march in protest against the city of Atlanta when it summarily ceased relief payments, Herndon was harassed, beaten and illegally imprisoned. After a rigged trial, he was sentenced to life on a chain gang, a perverse form of living death. With the help of union members and enthusiastic public support, Herndon was freed after his appeal reached the U.S. Supreme Court. He went on to work on behalf of labor for many years.
“A striking new play by OyamO ostensibly about the political plight of real-life ’30’s labor activist Angelo P. Herndon, but actually about the constant negotiation of power that defines a black man in the racist U.S. of A.. . . buoyed by raunchy, irresistibly listenable black dialogue and an energetic, larger than life cast, Let Me Live . . . always remains, in the face of its characters’ probable destinies of living chain-gang death, a play very much alive.” Scott Poulson-Bryant, The Village Voice, January 22, 1991
“It is from transcripts of the trial and Angelo Herndon’s autobiography that playwright OyamO has fashioned his powerful drama. . . the movement and timing were executed with precision, and kudos to Anne Patterson for her coordination of costume and set design which, like OyamO and Mitchelson’s concern for realism, was right on the money.”Herb Boyd, Amsterdam News, February 16, 1991