Caryl Phillips, who knew James Baldwin well, has written a play of intense insight which follows the young Baldwin from Harlem and Greenwich Village on his journey into exile in PARIS, where he became one of the greatest American writers of the 20th century. This play sees the young Jimmy Baldwin confronting his sexuality, enduring the endemic American racism of 1948, and surviving the real and illusory freedoms of post-war PARIS to emerge with his first novel, Go Tell it on the Mountain. Phillips's portrait of James Baldwin as a young artist calls on Richard Wright and other real figures from Baldwin's life, and merges others into semi-fictional characters who mirror the real people of those early years. Ronald Pickup takes the role of ""Jean-Claude"", a man recollecting a touching relationship with Baldwin in PARIS. The younger Jean-Claude is played by Tom Silburn. A diverse cast take on the American, French and multiple nationalities that surround Jimmy Baldwin, and Ricky Fearon, in his first role for radio, plays the young Jimmy. He has twice played Othello in the past two years, and comes to the radio from his recent appearance at the Chichester Festival Theatre in The Merchant of Venice.
By Caryl Phillips
America woke up to the voice of one its greatest writers when the Civil Rights movement set the UNITED STATES on fire.
James Baldwin was a novelist, essayist, playwright and polemicist, but he forged his clear view of America when he sent himself into exile in PARIS, where he could explore his sexuality, and find the words he had to say.
Caryl Phillips knew him, and his sweeping drama explores that extraordinary time in FRANCE.
James Baldwin....Ricky Fearon
Jean-Claude, older....Ronald Pickup
Jean-Claude, younger....Tom Silburn
Richard Wright....Declan Wilson
Mrs Wilkes....Lisa Davina Phillip
With Roger May, Timothy Morand, Bob Sherman, Rachel Atkins and Chris Moran.
Directed by Ned Chaillet.