Sixty years after the landmark American novel's publication, the Huntington Theatre Company presents a searing production of Ralph Ellison's epic Invisible Man. The first adaptation in any medium to be authorized by the Ellison Trust, the Jefferson Award-winning script is by Academy Award-nominated screenwriter Oren Jacoby. Christopher McElroen, award-winner and co-founder of the Classical Theatre of Harlem, directs. Teagle F. Bougere delivers "a tour-de-force performance" (BroadwayWorld.com) in the iconic title role.
When Invisible Man premiered at Chicago's Court Theatre with the same creative team, it was hailed as "a remarkable, must-see dramatic achievement" by Chicago Tribune. This co-production, featuring actors from Boston and Washington, DC, originated at Washington, DC's Studio Theatre where the fall run was twice extended due to popular demand.
"Invisible Man is not only a classic of American literature. It is also one of the greatest novels ever written," says African-American historian Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. "As a meditation on the intricacies of race and class in American culture, it has not been surpassed."
The "extraordinary and transporting" production (Washingtonian) begins with the first line of the novel: "I am an invisible man." An unnamed, idealistic, young African-American searches for identity and his place in the world as he journeys through 1930s America – from the Deep South to a basement in the borderlands of Harlem, from a betrayal at his ivy-covered Negro college to a nightmare job in a New York paint factory, to the story's climax at a Harlem race riot. He moves through an America divided by race and class, grappling with the paradoxes of identity that have rendered him invisible. Ellison's landmark American novel about race, power, freedom, and liberty comes to life onstage in this gripping theatrical adaptation.
"It's a great privilege to bring Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man to the stage for the first time," says director Christopher McElroen. "It's a task that my collaborators and I approach with the utmost respect. We look forward to continuing the play's development in collaboration with the Huntington, and mounting the show on the Huntington's mainstage provides us the opportunity to explore it on a new scale. From my previous work in Boston, I know of the richness of the city's theatergoing community, and I'm excited to share Invisible Man with it."
"This blazingly theatrical adaptation of one of the most important books of the 20th century confronts us with a blistering perspective on race in America," says Huntington Artistic Director Peter DuBois. Hear more from DuBois about the production at huntingtontheatre.org/peter-dubois-on-invisible-man/.