Is Huckleberry Finn Still Relevant?
When a theatre company decides to put up a play, the first question one must always ask is why produce this play here and now? What is its relevance? How will it enlighten us about our world today?
On the surface, “
But does the story of young Huckleberry Finn and the runaway slave Jim still have something to tell us?
“Yes,” says Shaun T. Evans, a
“He’s a good actor,” says Evans of Vereen. “People know he’s a good singer and dancer, but he’s a really great actor.”
A powerfully build man with an air of quiet gravitas about him, Evans praises Vereen for finding the vulnerability in his characterization of Jim. “Some people don’t want to play Jim’s weakness at all,” says Evans. “So he becomes a caricature.” Vereen, however, found a humanity and vulnerability in Jim that Evans found very appealing.
Its Jim’s vulnerability, in fact, which Evans believes draws Jim to Huck. Not only are both people who do not belong in the world in which they have been thrust, but Jim also misses his own children. Evans says that being with Huck fills a void in Jim.
A highly experienced actor who
serves as artistic director of the California Youth Conservatory in San Diego,
Evans sees more to the story of “
“There has been a political tide lately toward taking whole groups of people and dehumanizing them,” says Evans, his soft spoken voice growing firm with passion and conviction. “People are the same everywhere. Muslim fathers love and miss their children just as much as anyone. Freedom shouldn’t be an abstract notion.”
One only has to remember recent
Yet, for all its heavy and
chillingly resonant themes, “
“Big River: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” plays at The Western Stage through October 28th. Performances are Fri. and Sat. at , Sun. at Tickets can be purchased through The Western Stage box office at (831) 375-2111 or online at westernstage.com.