Censored: Readings from Banned Books and More was first produced at the former John Houseman Theatre in New York City in 1991, under the auspices of The National Coalition Against Censorship, with Judy Blume as advisor. Actors included such luminaries as Anne Jackson and Eli Wallach. The production also ran at The Church Street Theatre in Washington D.C. and at Steppenwolf in Chicago with Studs Terkel in the cast. These productions were in response to a prior wave of book banning that took place decades ago — before the most recent wave started in 2021.
The actors bring the audience into key moments in the battle against censorship. We start with the early Puritan days – the Puritans were happy to practice freedom of religion as long as it was their religion. Then we progress through the “Scopes Monkey Trial” – where high school teacher John Scopes is on trial in 1925 for teaching evolution in the state of Tennessee, where it remains illegal to teach until 1967! We read from books that have been and are being banned, and explore the increasingly draconian penalties teachers and librarians are facing as they stand up to organized censorship groups such as Moms for Liberty.
As poet laureate Rita Dove said at a recent event in Lenox: “The object of book banning is not to ban books but to ban culture.”
Join us for a whirlwind tour of censored materials, art forms, and historical trends. See how earlier waves of censorship have morphed into the present, to threaten the most basic freedoms we cherish. A community talk-back will be held after the reading. Don’t miss this important event!
Followed by an Audience Talk-Back. Portion of proceeds go to the Richmond Record.
About Carolyn Kay Brancato
Carolyn Kay Brancato is a playwright, an author of historical novels, and a director/ choreographer. Her plays have been produced at the John Houseman Theatre in NYC, Steppenwolf in Chicago and the Church Street Theatre in Washington D.C. Carolyn is also the author of two historical novels. The Knight Belongs to the Maquis is a WWII novel based on interviews she conducted with three members of the French Resistance. The Circus Pig and the Kaiser is based on the true 1907 story of a Ukrainian circus performer who trained his prized pig to mimic the war-mongering Kaiser and was arrested for sedition.
She has also directed such plays as Deposing the White House, which she moved from Ensemble Studio Theatre in NYC to the Church Street Theatre in DC. In addition, she directed and choreographed dozens of plays in the Washington DC area, including at the Source Theatre. As a choreographer, she created works for the DC City Ballet and was the dance consultant for the wedding sequence in Francis Ford Coppola’s film Gardens of Stone.
Carolyn serves on the board of The Great Barrington Public Theatre and is a member of The Dramatists Guild of America and The Authors Guild. She was a founder of the Guild of Berkshire Artists. She received her BA from Barnard College and her PhD from NYU. Her “day job” has been as founder and director of The Global Corporate Governance Center for The Conference Board, a non-profit international business membership organization devoted to improving the role of business in society. She resides in the Berkshires with her husband, Howard Greenhalgh.
Seating/Bar: 6:30PM Show: 7PM
This event is indoors.
Parking is limited at the venue so please utilize the three public parking lots in Town. One is across from the Post Office, one is behind Berkshire Bank and the other is just off Main Street. They are clearly marked. Do not park at Trúc Orient Express Restaurant or the Post Office or you might receive a ticket.