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Warren Gerds/Critic at Large: ‘Nat Turner in Jerusalem’ playwright will visit Oshkosh

Critic At Large

University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh Theatre

Nathan Alan Davis is author of the drama “Nat Turner in Jerusalem.” (New Play Exchange)


University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh Theatre will present the Nathan Alan Davis drama “Nat Turner in Jerusalem” on two system campuses starting this week.

Performances are at 7:30 Oct. 3-5 and 2 p.m. Oct. 6 in Fredric March Theatre at UW-Oshkosh and 7:30 p.m. Oct. 10-12 in Prairie Theatre, UW-Oshkosh, Fond du Lac Campus. Info:

Directing is Merlaine Angwall of the UW-Oshkosh faculty.

Snapshot: In August 1831, Nat Turner led a slave uprising. His attorney, Thomas R. Gray, recorded Turner’s startling account of his prophecy and the insurrection. Davis’s play imagines Turner’s final night in a jail cell in Jerusalem, Virginia, as he is revisited by Gray and they reckon with what has passed and what the dawn will bring.

Davis, a lecturer in theater at Princeton University, is scheduled to visit the Oshkosh campus to discuss his play.

He will conduct round-table discussions in honors, theater and African American literature classes and will lecture to students from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Oct. 3 in Reeve Union Room 307.

Davis will be present for the performances Oct. 3 and 4, with a talk-back with Davis to follow each.

Angwall said, “‘Nat Turner in Jerusalem’ examines America’s racial history, but seems alarmingly close to the problems and issues we face today.”

UW-Oshkosh Theatre has arranged for Wisconsin Public Television to record Davis’ campus lecture for broadcast on “University Place.”

Davis’ other plays include “The Refuge Plays” (premiering in 2020), “Dontrell Who Kissed the Sea” and “The Wind and the Breeze.”

Davis received a Whiting Award in Drama in 2018. Other awards include Steinberg /ATCA New Play Citation, Stavis Playwright Award, Blue Ink Award and Lorraine Hansberry Award.

Additional productions in the UW-Oshkosh 2019-2020 theater season are “The Comedy of Errors by William Shakespeare,” Nov. 21-24, directed by Jane Purse-Wiedenhoeft; “Beast on the Moon,” written and directed by Richard Kalinoski, Feb. 27-29, March 5-8; and “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike,” by Christopher Durang, April 30, May 1-3, directed by Merlaine Angwall.

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