Based on Ernest J. Gaines' National Book Critics Circle Award-winning novel, A Lesson Before Dying is set in a small Louisiana Cajun community in the late 1940's. Jefferson, a young illiterate black man, is falsely convicted of murder and is sentenced to death. Grant Wiggins, the plantation schoolteacher, agrees to talk with the condemned man. The disheartened Wiggins had once harbored dreams of escaping from his impoverished youth, yet he returned to his home town after university, to teach children whose lives seemed as unpromising as Jefferson's. The two men forge a bond as they come to understand what it means to resist and defy one's own fate.
An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance featuring:
Rick Foucheux as Paul Bonin
Keith Glover as Grant Wiggins
Jamahl Marsh as Jefferson
Linda Powell as Vivian Baptiste
Jefferson A. Russell as Reverend Moses Ambrose
Jerry Whiddon as Sam Guidry
Beatrice Winde as Emma Glenn
Directed by Nick Olcott. Recorded at Voice of America in Washingto
About the Author
Ernest J. Gaines is a writer-in-residence at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. His 1993 novel, A Lesson before Dying, won the National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction, was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize, and was an Oprah Book Club pick in 1997. In 2004, he was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature.
ROMULUS LINNEY, acclaimed playwright of over 30 plays, including Childe Byron, "2," and Holy Ghosts, is the author of two other novels, Jesus Tales and Slowly, By Thy Hand Unfurled. Linney has received numerous awards, including two National Critics Awards for Best Play of the Year, and two Obie Awards. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, which gave him its Award in Literature and its Award of Merit Medal for Drama.