East Texas Hot Links opens at John Beasley Theater
January 26th, 2012
Omaha, NE – The John Beasley Theater presents East Texas Hot Links, a story not about famous Texas sausage links but rather how weâ€™re all linked together on the food chain of life.
Eugene Lee is the writer and director of East Texas Hot Links. Lee grew up in Fort Worth, Texas during, as he said, the “B.I.” or â€œbefore integrationâ€ days. And he said his interest in theater was first sparked by his tenth-grade drama teacher.
She offered him the role of a maid’s boyfriend in a school play. And after turning it down, he said she asked him a jolting question, “You want to put one of these white boys up there in black face?â€
â€œIt dawned on me in a millisecond standing there in that hallway with that lady, that sheâ€™d done that before,” Lee said. “There had been many years when there werenâ€™t any black people for her to use (in plays), so she had to do that.”
Lee changed his mind, and accepted the role. He said he would rather “bring some level of dignity to it…than to see some white boy up there in caricature.”
Lee is currently in Omaha, working with local actors at the John Beasley Theatre. As an actor himself, he said itâ€™s important to tell stories related to history and race, and include both the soft and hard truths of segregation.
East Texas Hot Links takes place in the summer of 1955, at a little cafÃ©/Jook Joint in the back woods of East Texas. The community comes together after discovering thereâ€™s a Judas among them, whoâ€™s been turning young boys over to Ku Klux Klan members.
â€œPlays are about those days that are life changing and character changing,â€ Lee said. “Thatâ€™s what this playâ€™s about, a major change in this community when these people are forced to do something.”
East Texas Hot Links opens February 17th and runs through March 11th at the John Beasley Theatre in South Omaha.
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