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Carlyle

A Conversation with Carlyle Playwright Thomas Bradshaw

Known for his audacious, sometimes incendiary plays, Thomas Bradshaw sets his sights on American politics with his newest satire Carlyle. In the play, Bradshaw, whose work last appeared at the Goodman with 2011’s Mary, traces one African American’s path to becoming a Republican. Shortly before beginning rehearsals, Bradshaw spoke with Tanya Palmer, the play’s dramaturg,…

Why Carlyle?

If by definition a provocateur is one who “causes discussion, thought or argument,” then playwright Thomas Bradshaw is certainly one of the most provocative writers now working. In Mary, his inaugural Goodman production in 2011, his comic depiction of a white Southern family, their devoted black servants and the gay son whose attempts to bring…

The Embattled Appointment of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas

With the spring, 1991 resignation of Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, then-President George H. W. Bush was presented with a unique challenge. Marshall had been a legendary liberal who, as the first African American Justice, brought his decades-long activism to Court decisions. But the 1990s lay nestled in a resurgence of political conservatism, and Bush,…

Creating Carlyle: Actor James Earl Jones II Takes on the Title Role

In the new political satire Carlyle, Carlyle Meyers is an African American lawyer for the Republican Party overcome by stage fright during a theatrical retelling of how and why he became a member of the GOP. Happily, no such affliction seems to be affecting the play’s leading actor James Earl Jones II, as he prepares…

A Brief History of Black Conservatism

Early in Thomas Bradshaw’s new play, the title character, Carlyle Meyers, reveals the question that the performance will set out to answer: How it is that a black person could end up becoming a Republican? He elaborates: CARLYLE: There’s no simple answer to the question of how a black person ends up a Republican. And…