EgoPo Theater Co. to Stage Uncle Tom’s Cabin—With White Slaves

Victor Fiorillo, The Philly Post, January 29, 2013

When was the last time you saw Uncle Tom’s Cabin in a theater? The answer is probably never. As far as I can tell, a theatrical version of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s controversial novel hasn’t been performed in the Philadelphia area for many decades, and that also appears to be true for the rest of the country, with the exception of a couple of attempts in New York City over the years. But one Philadelphia theater company says that it’s time to bring the story back to the stage, but with a twist.

EgoPo Classic Theater, a company that describes itself as “edgy, innovative, and inspiring,” is set to debut Uncle Tom in May at Delancey Place’s Plays & Players Theater. Auditions begin this weekend. {snip}

Uncle Tom was quickly transformed into a theatrical work after the novel’s 1852 publication. And although the book was immensely popular (its sales in the 1800s were surpassed only by those of the Bible), the various theatrical versions were even more so.

Because copyright laws were not what they are today, the scripts strayed freely from the original text, and the show eventually became a centerpiece of minstrel performances, complete with blackface and the most exaggerated racial stereotypes possible. Plus, the book itself wound up on some “banned book” lists, and the NAACP objected to its language and characterizations. {snip}

For the May production, EgoPo artistic director Lane Savadove and Glenn Odom, a literary studies professor at Rowan University, are creating a new script. “We’re doing a realistic, naturalistic version that will be incredibly respectful of the novel,” promises Savadove. “We’re not writing anything. We’re using the book word-for-word, cutting it just so that it works in a theatrical format. I really want the novel to speak for itself on the stage. This is not going to be some post-modern version of Uncle Tom’s Cabin.”

I asked him why it was important to do Uncle Tom now, why he wants to pick it up after all these years.

“The play got tagged as racist not because of the book but because of the minstrel shows,” he explains. “The book was written as an anti-racist piece, and in the last 10 years, the top African American scholars like Henry Louis Gates and Cornel West have gone back to reclaim it as an important part of racial history. And so, we wanted to go back now that it’s seen in this new light and create a new theater version.”

{snip}

Further complicating the matter is Savadove’s decision to swap races in the casting process. In other words, white actors will play slaves while black actors will play their owners.

{snip}

Savadove tries to explain his unusual casting decision: “Even though, by all accounts, the dialogue is incredibly historically accurate, it’s a loaded subject to have a black man speak in a Southern slave dialect. And so we’re switching the races. And we’re painting a picture of an America where it happens to be that the whites became enslaved and the blacks became the slave owners. We’re pointing out the randomness with which the blacks became enslaved and the whites became empowered.”

{snip}

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  • RJSNS16

    It’s ironic that Africans VIOLENTLY enslaved millions of their own people and then PEACEFULLY sold them to other races, including many Jews and Arabs.

    Yet southern whites get all the blame for slavery

    • Svigor

      Who gets the blame tells us more about who gets to do the blaming than anything else. YKW.

  • HadEnough

    “We’re pointing out the randomness with which the blacks became enslaved and the whites became empowered.”

    Yep, completely random. Just like the randomness of whites just happening to end up living within all the great civilizations.

    • Svigor

      I suppose the problem is that humans in general aren’t really capable of much in the way of rational thought. Thus, the average white doesn’t have much of a clue what “civilization” means, how it’s brought about, etc. His thinking on the matter probably doesn’t rise much further than that of a cargo cult. So it’s no problem, to his way of thinking, if the “magic” is random or not, because he’s not going to understand it either way.

    • Look at Africa–it is largely run by blacks and is a literal crap hole…just like Detroit.

  • Puggg

    Unsure about the history, but I have heard that one of the very first cases of slavery in what would become the United States involved a black master and a white indentured servant. So this “fiction” isn’t that far from the truth.

  • jay11

    How about a remake of Roots with Kunta and his tribe being white and the other tribes around them who enslaved other Africans being white, and then the white slave-capturing tribe selling the white slaves to the black guys on the beach?
    Or what about a Disney princess who is black, living in a huge castle, wearing fancy gowns and other things that were not part of any experience in Africa… Oh Snap! They already did that – and there was a frog somewhere too!

  • Lewis33

    Lane Savadove, “to every season there is a theme, says Savadove, who was inspired by his Russian emigre grandfather who came to Philadelphia in 1890, established himself as a leading surgeon at what is now the Einstein Medical Center but never abandoned memories of the shtetl’s Yiddish stage.”
    http://www.jewishexponent.com/theaters-do-jewish

    • Svigor

      He should make it about Jewish masters and black slaves, and take it on Aliyah.

  • This might actually be a good thing for the white nationalist.
    The racist blacks will get even more angry, lashing out at whites, and it is often the white liberal who makes itself a target for black violence. It does, you know often take 30 seconds to undo 18 years of indoctrination.
    The liberal whites who go see this fantasy, will have the images burned into their minds. They might just come way thinking, “A world where whites are the slaves? Not in my lifetime!”

    • Liberal Whites are generally self-loathing; I’d bet that black violence perpetrated on them would be considered justified, given their White privilege. Liberal Whites are fools.

    • Tim

      My Dad used to say that 60 seconds on the beach head beat six months in the barracks…

  • razorrare

    And once again…

    Both psychologically and materially Whites in modern times are called upon to bear burdens of guilt and monetary reparation for black slavery. This position is based entirely on forced ignorance and the deliberate suppression of the record of White slavery in North America.Hundreds of thousands of Whites had been enslaved during the colonial era in America while millions of others were too poor to afford even a mule much less a black slave.

    Slave reparations and guilty feelings are due–if one subscribes to such a thing as retroactive collective guilt–from the descendants of the minority of wealthy Whites( mostly jewish) who owned black slaves and who,in the South at least,were generally reduced to penury in the aftermath of the Civil War.Reparations would also have to be paid by the descendants of the Cherokee and other American Indian tribes who owned black slaves and by the heirs of black tribal leaders in Africa who sold them into slavery.

    Reparations must also be paid, if the logic of the situation is to be consistent,to the modern-day White descendants of the White slaves of early America.

    The whole discussion of black slavery, Southern racism and the Civil War as currently framed by the Establishment agenda, necessarily must exclude any examination of the fact of White slavery, especially in the 17th and 18th centuries,and the condition of free White poor in the 19th century forced to compete against black slave labor in the South.

    The whole apparatus of the institution of human slavery in English-speaking America, which has been searingly memorialized in the voluminous literature on black slavery, was first put into place in the enslavement of Whites who were kidnapped in their native land, died on board ship, suffered child slavery and separation of parents from children forever; endured fugitive slave-laws, the banning of White slave meetings and severe and extreme corporal punishment,sometimes unto death.

    The motivation of the cover-up of the extent of White slavery by Establishment-funded and approved house scholars is obvious. To admit the true history of White slavery and record it faithfully in modern history is to furnish empirical evidence that White skin does not necessarily embody power or status;that the poor White of today who is forced to subsidize with his taxes and job prospects,so that blacks may be compensated for slavery, in reality owes nobody for anything.

    They Were White and They Were Slaves–The Untold History of the Enslavement of Whites in Early America…by Michael A. Hoffman II

    The twist in this story is the clever deceptive lie that free blacks never owned White slaves in Early America or that White slavery in America never existed.

    • razorrare

      Unknown writer epresses the bitter feelings of the early British factory workers:
      “I’m up,but weary,
      I scarce can reach the door,
      And long the way dreary–
      Oh,carry me once more,
      To help us we’ve no mother,
      To live how hard we try–
      They killed my little brother–
      Like him I’ll work and die!
      The overlooker met her,
      As to the frame she crept,
      And with the thong he beat her,
      And cursed her as she wept.
      Alas,what hours of horror
      Made up her latest day,
      In toil and pain and sorrow,
      They slowly passed away.
      That night a chariot passed her,
      While on the ground she lay;
      The daughters of her master
      An evening visit to pay,
      Their tender hearts were sighing
      As wrongs to negroes were told,
      While the White slave was dying
      Who gained their father’s gold.”
      –Birmingham Journal, April 14, 1833

      • razorrare

        Harriet Beecher Stowe was one of the great hypocrites of the 19th century,a pious fraud whose legacy of malignant hatred for her own kind has infected many another White man and woman to this day.

        • If I remember correctly, Stowe was the one who perpetrated the fraud about Lord Byron’s alleged incest with his half sister.

        • dhs

          In Dixon’s “Birth of a Nation”, there is a passing reference to Stowe as “the little lady who started the war”. The context was such as to imply that this belief was widely held, because of her authorship of UTC.

          • razorrare

            Michael Hoffan writes in They Werte White and They Were Slaves…
            During her triumphal 1853 tour of Britain in the wake of Uncle Tom’s Cabin,Stowe was the guest of the Duchess of Sutherland,a woman of vast wealth, who had an interest in the “betterment of the negro.”
            The Sutherland wealth was based in part on one of the most criminal land grabs in British history. The Sutherlands had seized the ancient holdings of the traditional clans of Scotland and burned the Highland “crofters” (farmers) off their lands,resulting in pauperism and starvation of Scottish women and children(Henry C. Carey,The Slave Trade, Domestic and Foreign, pp 204-209); John Prebble,The Highland Clearances,pp. 288-295). At one point the Sutherlands even hired armed guards to prevent famine stricken Scottish Highlander “rabble” from catching fish in the Sutherland’s well-stocked salmon and trout rivers (Prebble,p.293).
            When Stowe returned to America she wrote a glowing account of the Sutherlands in her travel book Sunny Memories, specifically praising them for their “enlightened land policies” in Scotland,which she described as, “an almost sublime instance of the benevolent employment of superior wealth and power in shortening the struggles of advancing civilization” (Cunliffe,p. 18,Prebble,p.292). In response to Stowe’s appalling whitewash of the crimes committed against the Scottish Highlanders, a London newspaper described Uncle Tom’s Cabin as a “downright imposture” and “ranting,canting nonsense.”(Cunliffe,Ibid.).

  • bigone4u

    Clever little liberal moron professors are just taking the idea from Planet of the Apes, a novel in which the apes were thinly disguised blacks holding white humans as slaves. I have the feeling that tickets to this Masterpiece Theater of Political Correctness will not be hard to get.

  • Al Gator

    If blacks had enslaved whites, we would still be in the dark ages and working the fields picking cotton by hand.

    • Svigor

      If blacks had enslaved whites, whites would have woken from the (insert implausible cause here) the next day and reversed the situation.

      • Pelayo

        “awakened”

      • Whites would outsmart and eliminate their black masters.

        • David Ashton

          Muslims enslaved both blacks and whites.
          Search the “history” books and ye shall not find.

          • Tom_in_Miami

            Muslims did in fact enslave many hundreds of thousands of whites.

    • bursinfur

      You think they would managed to have agrarian society?

      Your giving them way too much credit.

      • Pelayo

        Can you say “Zimbabwe”? Kill the Whites and starve.

  • Luca

    Would love to see the dialogue. If a White actor says “N***r”, or “Yassuh Massa”, or “Shonuff boss”, they will quickly be charged with a hate crime.

    Everyone knows that the new revisionist history books tell us that slaves in the old south had an extraordinarily well developed and superior vocabulary and it was the white slave masters who stole that from them. The new revisionist record will also show that sub-Saharan blacks had very high IQ’s, but sadly the evil whites stole that from them too using their racist institutions of slavery and colonialism.

    Is there no end to what these white devils will do? (Sarcasm, for those who don’t get it).

    • Some Guy

      Don’t forget they could fly and were Kings & Queens until we stole their crowns and clipped their wings.

      • Vanessa

        I love that. They’re always saying they come from kings and queens. So I guess there were no subjects. Everyone was king, imagine that.

    • gemjunior

      “Is there no end to what these white devils will do? (Sarcasm, for those who don’t get it).”
      Nope, dey ain’ no end to whut dem ol’ white debbils be up to. In fact, when I was watching Matt Heimbach being “interviewed” by Larry Hartman, Larry the Anti White was trying to prove his point about our inherent evil by reflecting on is Native American friend who once asked him the question “Larry, WHAT WAS IT that came out of the caucasus?” – so monstrous that itdid nothing good, nothing positive, but only oppressed the whole world rather than leading the world’s upward evolution which benefitted EVERY person who dwells or had dwelt on the planet….It’s amazing to see how people who self-identify as victims can twist anything to suit their worldview. But it’s not good when all these “victims” get together or are somehow united in hatred and envy against people who are largely oblivious or in total agreement with these sob sisters. Not good at all…..
      Is this stupidly impossible play, like the stupid “Django” a prelude to what’s in store? Time to wake up all the whites around us.

    • Pelayo

      I can’t conceive of a White actor or actress demeaning themselves that way. Well I guess Andrew Dice Clay was right with his parody on nursery Rhymes.

      “Little Boy Blue! Hey, he needed the money”

    • Ed_NY

      I understand and speak ebonics as well as any ghetto dweller. I often translate for my wife and others when they cant understand blacks. However, if I speak ebonics in public, I am immediately branded a racist.

  • razorrare

    Breaking the chains of illusion..Historian Oscar Handlin writes that in Colonial America,White “servants could be bartered for profit,sold to the highest bidder for the unpaid debts of their masters,and otherwise transferred like movable goods or chattels…In every civic,social and legal attribute,these victims of the turbulent displacements of the 16th and 17th centuries were set apart.Despised by every other order,without apparent means of rising to a more favored place,these men and their children,and their children’s children seemed mired in a hard,degraded life…The condition of the first Negroes in the continental English colonies must be viewed within the perspective of these conceptions and realities of (White)servitude…(Origins of the Southern Labor System,”William and Mary Quarterly,April,1950,p.202).The history of enslavement in America as portrayed in the tunnel vision of the corporate media has focused exclusively on the enslavement of Negroes.The impression is given that only Whites bear responsibility for enslaving negroes and only negroes were slaves.In fact negroes in Africa as well as American Indian tribes such as the Cherokee engaged in extensive enslavement of negroes.The Cherokee indians owned large plantations on which they worked their negro slaves in gangs(R.Halliburton,Jr.,Red Over Black:Black Slavery among the Cherokee Indians,p.20)….White slaves were actually owned by negroes and indians in the South to such an extent that the Virginia Assembly passed the following law in 1670:”It is enacted that noe negro or Indian though baptized and enjoyned their own e ffreedome shall be capable of any such purchase of Christians..”(Statutes of the Virginia Assembly,Vol 2,pp.280-281).Negroes also owned other negroes in America(Charleston County Probate Court Records,1754-1758,p.406).While Whites languished in chains Blacks were free men in Virginia throughout the 17th century(Willie Lee Rose,A Documentary history of Slavery in North America,p.15;John Henderson Russell,Free Negro in Virginia,1619-1865,p 23;Bruce Levine,et al.,Who Built America?,vol 1,p 52).In 1717 it was proposed that a qualification for election to the South Carolina Assembly was to be the ownnership of one White man.”(Journals of the Commons House of Assembly of the Province of South Carolina:1692-1775,vol5pp294-295).Negroes voted in the Carolina counties of Berkeley and Craven in 1706 “and their votes were taken.”Levine,p.63).Blacks were toting guns or other weapons and going about in the service of wealthy landowners at the same time that tens of thousands of enslaved White men were forbidden arms.In 1678 one thousand negroes were armed by the planters and formed into a fighting militia for protection against the french(Carl and Roberta Bridenbaugh,No Peace Beyond the Line:The English in the Caribbean,1624-1690;pp.359-360).In Carolina in 1704,1707,1712,1738,and 1741 bills were passed authorizing armed negro militias in the service of the planters.(Warren B Smith,White servitude in Colonial South Carolina,p.98)…..many of the Unionist soldiers who made up the ranks of Lincolns armies in southern Ohio,western North Carolina,eastern Tennessee,southern Illinois,Kentucky and elsewhere were survivors of White slavery or descendants of White slaves. They did not view themselves as advocates of what then was referred to as racial “amalgamation.” Historically they regarded themselves as separatists and viewed the Southern Planters desire to spread negroes into California,Oregon and other territories as a grave threat to free White labor and the Old Testament principle of racial separation(Nehemiah 13:23-27;Ezra 10:10-14;Hosea 5:7).During much of the Civil War the political and military leaders of the Confederacy could not travel in certain parts of the deep South without armed escorts(Jeffrey Rogers Hummel,”The Civil War,”The United States at War Audio Classics Series,Part Two),for fear of attack from “Upcountry” Southern Whites who hated the planter aristocracy and the war they saw as being for the sole benefit of the expansion of the planters “infernal negroes.” Upcountry southern Whites consisted in large part of the survivors and the children of survivors of White slavery who resided in the hills,mountains and Piedmont regions of the South under frontier conditions.In the antebellum 19th century South,”A large number of White southerners lived in the upcountry,an area of small farmers and herdsmen…engaged largely in mixed and subsistence agriculture…little currency circulated,barter was common and the upcountry families dressed in ‘home-spun cloth,the product of the spinning wheel and the hand-loom.’This economic order gave rise to a distinctive sub-culture that celebrated mutuality,egalitarianism(for Whites)and …independence. “…mountain counties rejected secession from the outset.They believed the yeoman had no business fighting for a planter dominated aristocracy:’All tha want is to git you…to fight for their infernal negroes and after you do their fightin’ you may kiss their hind parts for o tha care.”(Eric Foner,Reconstruction:America’s Unfinished Revolution,1863-1877,pp11 and 13).Poor Whites had to be drafted into the Confederate army.As in the North ,where resistance to conscription was widespread,many Southern Whites saw the conflict as “a rich man’s war and a poor man’s fight.”Indeed,any slaveholder owning 20 or more Black slaves was exempt from military combat.From 1609 until the early 1800s,between one-half and two thirds of all White colonists who came to the New World came as slaves.Of the passengers on the Mayflower,twelve were White slaves(John Van der Zee,Bound Over,p.93).Hundreds of thousands of Whites had been enslaved during the colonial era in America while millions of others were too poor to afford even a mule,much less a black slave….Michael A Hoffman II from they Were White and They Were Slaves.the Untold History of the Enslavement of Whites in Early America.

  • Some Guy

    “a company that describes itself as “edgy, innovative, and inspiring.”
    Inspiring blacks to run out and get White slaves?

    • NYB

      “we’re painting a picture of an America where it happens to be that the whites became enslaved and the blacks became the slave owners”
      ‘Planet of the Apes’ was a thinly disguised artistic exploration of this.

  • The__Bobster

    Philly theater has gone off the deep end. Did you know that Dr. Jeckyll was an oil driller?

    http://www.broadwaytovegas.com/JekyllAndHydePoster.jpg

    I seem to remember a parade in New England a few years ago where White libtards were lined up to become slaves being whipped by Bantus.

    • Reginald

      I would have loved to have seen that!

  • Svigor

    We’re pointing out the randomness with which the blacks became enslaved and the whites became empowered.”

    Haha. Where do these nutcases get their ideas? Whites could put blacks back in chains in a heartbeat, if they wanted to.

    I can understand blacks telling themselves that they couldn’t, and maybe half-believing it (85 IQ has its benefits), but how do whites with any sense at all think up tripe like that?

  • Tim_in_Indiana

    Savadove tries to explain his unusual casting decision: “Even though, by all accounts, the dialogue is incredibly historically accurate, it’s a loaded subject to have a black man speak in a Southern slave dialect. And so we’re switching the races.

    In other words, presenting an antiwhite play is not enough. Using real black actors rather than whites in blackface is not enough. This topic is so “loaded” that the only way to handle it is to reverse the races?

    Even better, maybe they should make the blacks kill all the whites at the end of the play like D’jango Unchained. Oh, no, that won’t work since the races have been reversed…

  • MekongDelta69

    I started to write an incredibly long post shredding this mentally insane article and the people behind this, but then I realized not only would it be way too easy, but also, I had much more important things to do… like go into a coma.

  • Warren

    Sounds good to me!

  • ye ol’ swampyankee

    Blacks are always dreaming up ways to stick it to th man, with some help from their white enablers.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bTIklFsMjjU

  • The Final Solution

    Reading this makes me think of the scene in Gangs of New York where the Butcher and his gang are at the theater causing chaos watching Uncle Tom’s Cabin. It’s too bad a bunch of white nationalists won’t turn out at this performance.

  • Sherman_McCoy

    What . . . The . . . F . . .?

  • LHathaway

    “edgy, innovative, and inspiring” – i.e. ‘left wing’

    They should do translations of Shakespeare. Translations from old english to modern English. If he’s really such a great author, that we all need to revere, let us modern folks benefit from his wisdom, and hollywood and TV benefit from some extra income. Sink or swim.

  • Terry

    There is a part of history that has been hidden for at least a century. So what is that history?? Before the Civil War, and during, there were black plantation owners and white slaves. In fact, whites were in slavery before blacks were, and black slavery was actually modeled after white slavery. This is something that few if ever is heard about, and blacks hate it when they are told. Blacks dwell on slavery to the point of nausea. Whites were the first to be put in slavery in the colonies. The Pilgrims were accused of owning slaves because they bought them. However, slavery was such an institution that in order to free them, you had to buy them first. The white slaves were kidnapped (kid nabbed) where the black slaves were bought from black tribes in Africa. So what is the big difference? The Jews were responsible for the buying and selling of slaves. They were kidnapped from Britain, Scotland, Ireland, Scandinavian countries, and so forth. White parents were even afraid to allow their children to go to the local store down the street to get a loaf of bread for fear that they would be kidnapped. The Jews have a history of kidnapping and forcing people to do things that are against their will. A good example is when the Jews force white women into sex slavery. This is why there are at least 200 brothels in Tel Aviv and about 600 in Jerusalem. The first black slave to be owned for life was owned by a black from North Carolina. Frederick Douglass would talk eloquently about his slave days, the beatings that he took, and why he had run a way. Yes, Frederick Douglas was a run a way slave. However, what he didn’t mention was that he was a run a way slave from a plantation that was in Maryland, and that was owned by a black family. Where do you think that the words “cracker,” “Honky,” and red neck came from? They were disparaging comments given by black slaves to white slaves because blacks didn’t have to go out in the fields and work under the hot sun and to do back breaking work.

    • Tom_in_Miami

      Can you provide a reference to black plantation owners holding white slaves?

  • Luis

    What next, a biography abut Tupac Shakur, with Justin Bieber playing Shakur? Why not “I Have a Dream”, a biography about King, with Charlie Sheen in the lead role, and Ashton Kutcher playing Jesse Jackson?
    Roseann Barr as Harriet Tubman? Mel Gibson as Nat Turner? Brad Pitt as Booker T. Washington?
    I’ll stop – I might give somebody ideas.

  • LastBastionOfHope

    America in 2013 is for whites what the 1950’s were for blacks except there is no mandated segregation. Whites are victims of race-based mob attacks (like the KKK did in the 50’s), blacks have unfair advantages (like whites did in the 50’s), it’s commonly accepted to demean white people and nothing will happen to those who do so (just like it was accepted to publicly bash blacks in the 50’s), etc. The problem is that our country thinks we have to be the modern day slaves of blacks to repent for our ancestors who A) most of us aren’t even related to or B) weren’t even in America at the time. When will we ever be able to say “Ok, blacks don’t want to succeed and all they want to do is blame whitey”? At some point we must move on and stop the funding, stop the outcry, stop the unfair black advantages. If we are all equal why do they still need training wheels on their bicycles when every other race is riding with 2 wheels?

    • Ed_NY

      I agree, it’s time we called a spade, a spade and moved on. However, I doubt I will ever see it in my lifetime.