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Professor directs, acts the role of Malcolm X in 'The Meeting'

By Angelik Edmonds
On February 28, 2013


The play "The Meeting" depicts a fictionalized account of a secret meeting between Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X. Winston-Salem State faculty performed the play on Feb. 15 at the International Civil Rights Center and Museum. 

The play was performed to pay tribute to King during the month of January. Because of weather, the show was postponed. 

Andre Minkins, professor of the English department and University theatre director, directed the play. His production company, 7AM Productions, organized the event. 

The setting of the play is in X's Harlem hotel room. 

Minkins played Malcolm X. Derick Virgil, assistant dean of Academic Services and Assessment, was Martin Luther King Jr. 

During recruitment, Minkins said he considers height, weight, and skin complexion and tone of voice. 

"If the person is a fan of Dr. King, then that helps, too," Minkins said. 

During preparation for his role, Virgil said he had to look at King's intimate life. 

"I had to get to know this iconic figure that was also human," Virgil said. 

The original 1980s script by Jeff Stetson was used. 

Although there have been several revisions, Minkins said he wanted to stay true to his memories of the play. 

"The playwright wove their speeches together," Minkins said. 

"The Meeting" uses satire and sarcasm to emphasize the opposite positions of King and X. Within the play, there are three arm wrestling scenes. These matches ultimately end in a draw; the draw foreshadows a mutual understanding and respect between the two icons. 

"I thought it was well-written," said Lynda Charles, UNC Greensboro graduate student in the department of gerontology. "It accurately depicted their philosophies." 

Rio Ayo, a personal development coach from Chicago, said "I think it was a very poignant and powerful play about dialogue that could have happened had King and X met." 

Following the play, audience members asked questions. 

Charles said she thought the play would have benefited from a focus on the icons changes in mentality. 

"Towards the end of their lives, their [King and X] ideologies were more similar. I would have liked to see more of that." 

Ayo said she would like to see a 2013 version of this play which would include information about the icons that the playwright may have not been privy to at the time. 

Minkins said he used "The Meeting" production to develop professional partnerships with various venues. 

"Eventually, I want to give WSSU students professional opportunities," Minkins said. 

As a college student, Minkins said he was exposed to the play. Minkins said his mentor, Larry Leon Hamlin, chose him as the understudy and stage manager of "The Meeting." Hamlin founded the National Black Theatre Festival. 

Approximately 40 people attended the event. The ages ranged from school age children to retired people. 

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