2017-10-06 / Arts & Entertainment

Frederick Douglass… No Turning Back

Contributed by
Chris Weatherhead

Kyle Taylor as Frederick Douglass Kyle Taylor as Frederick Douglass Richland Library and Actors’ Theatre of South Carolina presents Frederick Douglass… No Turning Back October 10 at the new Sandhills Auditorium.

Frederick Douglass, one of our greatest American heroes, was an electrifying orator, abolitionist, Christian leader, writer, and newspaper editor. He thrilled audiences across America and England in his quest to abolish slavery and create true freedom and equality for all in America.

The fact Douglass was a slave until he escaped at age 20 in 1838, is secondary to his astounding accomplishments as a compelling and eloquent agent of social reform.

He could have chosen to live in Europe, but he felt called to create freedom for all people in America, so he returned and spent his life encouraging our society.

Douglass’s newspaper The North Star’s motto was Right is of no Sex— Truth is of no Color—God is the Father of us all, and we are all brethren.

Kyle Taylor, who stars as Mr. Douglass, has appeared in theater productions in New York City and Los Angeles, including A River Niger starring Esther Rolle (of CBS Good Times), MYRON in Black & Whi te in LA and Six Degrees of Separation at Center Stage Playhouse, in NYC.

The recent Piccolo Spoleto run of the new play was hailed as “a theatrical triumph” by Mark Leon who wrote in Charleston Daily, “acting sensation Kyle Taylor transforms into the embodiment of Frederick Douglass. It is rare in live theatre, when an actor can bring to life so much of the pure essence of a character...Throughout this one act play, the audience is taken on a roller coaster of emotion from hatred of the ignorance, to empathy for the cause to celebration of freedom.”

In the Post & Courier, reviewer Chase Ferren wrote the play “…revived Douglass…the cadence in Taylor’s voice, deep and song-like, was heartbreaking and commanding, befitting the story of an American hero known for his mastery of rhetoric… offers a journey to the past as Douglass relates the story of his life to a western Ohio congregation in 1872… an enthralled audience.”

Locally, Taylor created the role of Samuel in the award-winning docudrama, John Laurens’ War for Moving Images Group at Actors’ Theatre of South Carolina. He also received rave reviews for his portrayal of Dr. Martin Luther King in The Mountaintop for Pure Theatre, and Crown in Porgy and Bess at the historic Dock Street Theatre.

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