Monday, January 26, 2015

From SELMA to FLORIDA in the 1960s, The Themes Of Racial Inequality, Desegregation And Unjust Deaths Are Told Through The Eyes Of A Young Boy In R. Jim Stahl’s Play HAMLET, ME AND MUHAMMAD ALI

By Kristopher Karcher

Following the unfortunate and unjust deaths of African American citizens like Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, and others, Americans across the country have had to face the fact that institutional racism is still very prevalent in our society. Progress has been made, but we are nowhere near equality. Its important to learn from our past. 

The inspiring images of protesters all across the country have shown the bravery of American citizens, of all ethnicities. However, this is not the first time American citizens have had to protest racial inequality; in R. Jim Stahls play Hamlet, Me, and Muhammad Ali we see the 1960s civil rights movement from the point of view of young boy.

            Though Stahls play takes place over 50 years ago,
many of the themes running throughout the touching, autobiographical one-man-show mirror those today. Some themes just never die, whether theyre 50 or 2500 years old: father-son relationships, justice and mercy, revenge, being an outsider, Stahl remarked in a recent interview, My play looks at these ideas [and] I imagine plays a thousand years from now will too. Other than these universal struggles we all go through, Stahls character, Jim, also takes a very interesting perspective on what it was like to live in 1960s Florida. 
Jim takes us through
his experience with desegregation at his school through the innocent eyes of a young boy and how other white families reacted. Growing up with a black maid, he has trouble understanding what makes them different. Stahls character stands up for those who are being discriminated against and unfortunately has to pay for it. 

            No one wants to admit that racism is still an issue in 2015, but its time we learn and fix it. EVERYONE this character knows teaches him something -- the racists and bigots, the white parents and the black surrogate parents, the
6 year old Ruby Bridges desegregates all white school
fighters and the healers, Grandpa Harry, Hamlet, and the housekeeper
everyone adds paint to the boys canvas, Stahl explained. Everyone teaches us something. Whether they are our parents, our teachers, and even our newscasters. In the same way, everyone we meet, we teach them something, so isnt it our responsibility to teach what is right? 

          Through this play Stahl teaches us as well; He shows us possibly something we dont want to see and makes us accept it. Now its up to us to fix it. 

HAMLET, ME AND MUHAMMAD ALI by R. Jim Stahl will be performed in the Strawberry One-Act Festival on February 14th & 15th at 7pm at the Hudson Guild Theatre, 441 West 26th Street, NYC.  For tickets go to or call the Box Office at 646-623-3488.  Click here to buy now.

SERIES F – February 14th & February 15th at 7pm
By R.J. Stahl
In race-torn Miami in the late ‘60s, a loving black housekeeper and her husband care for a white, Jewish boy.  Will the boy’s own racism disguise his love for them? Will he defend his love in public when the fighting starts?

By Freddy Valle
A play about an ailment so embarrassing, you wouldn’t tell your Mom about it.  Say Aahhh.

By Michael Napoles
What if there were a book detailing your greatest mistakes? Frankenstein’s Monster files a lawsuit against the Board of Education.

BLACK SHEEP By Nader Valian
What is the definition of normal?  Is there really such a thing?


By Thomas M. Walsh
Three young people take a desperate chance on a criminal act that will change their lives.