My 20-minute, one-man play about Frederick Douglass, is one of three short plays comprising LINCOLN ADJACENT, a production by Onion Creek at this year's Hollywood Fringe Festival.
Frederick Douglass escaped slavery, educated himself and became a riveting political agitator, one of the great men of the 19th century. An advisor and gadfly to Lincoln, Douglass’ manners and eruditeness helped convince Lincoln of the humanity of African Americans. Douglass prodded and convinced Lincoln to let black men fight in the Union Army to win on the field of battle freedom for all African Americans. Without the legions of black soldiers, the Union might very well have lost the war, or at least made peace with the Confederacy without ending slavery. Without Douglass, there probably wouldn’t be any movies about Lincoln. My contribution to LINCOLN ADJACENT takes place decades after Lincoln’s death, when Douglass in his twilight years remained a respected, yet still controversial figure, even among African Americans.
"A Grecian extravaganza... always engrossing and fun to watch" —Backstage
Fierce Backbone Theatre Company produced THE ROCK OF ABANDON on a frayed shoestring at the 99-seat Lillian Theatre in October-November of 2012. The production looked great, with well-paced direction by Tiger Reel, strong acting by the enthusiastic and diverse cast, and we garnered great reviews.
Photo by Joel Daavid
When blacklisted dramatist Euripides (Jim Hanna) turns sleuth in order to avenge the murder of a courtesan who jilted him years ago, his investigation unmasks blackmail and treason, putting him on a collision course with the powers-that-be, including the charismatic, rapist general Alkibiades, who has beguiled Athens into launching an unnecessary war.
"This masterpiece delivers twists and turns worthy of Hitchcock himself." —Examiner.com
Photo by Joel Daavid
Assemblyman Kritias (Gary Rubenstein), General Lamakos (Jeffrey Wylie), Ambassador Lycos (Drew McAuliffe), and General Alkibiades (Todd Babcock, back right) toast preemptive war in THE ROCK OF ABANDON, inspired by historical events. Written by Stephen Blackburn, directed by Tiger Reel.
Photo by Joel Daavid
Costume ladies of the gods Antoinette Muto (l) and Kim Little (r). They created for us the wonderful period costumes. Their company, Muto-Little, based in Larchmont near Paramount Studios, has built the costumes for scores of movies, tv shows and Disneyland shows, and for stars including Michael Jackson, Beyonce, Rhianna, and more recently, for the Billboard Awards, Bruno Mars and Justin Bieber. Thanks Antoinette and Kim!
I'm now seeking another production, with a budget that will support the large cast and epic nature of the story.
Thank you to Fierce Backbone and all its actors, writers and directors. And special thanks to producers Victoria Watson and Consuelo Flores.
Check out THE ROCK OF ABANDON Facebook page for more photos.
An eloquent voice for Americans too often ignored or scapegoated. —Booklist
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Born in Little Rock, Arkansas, Stephen Blackburn grew up in Corpus Christi, Texas. He graduated as a Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Texas at Austin, earning his MA in Radio-TV-Film. He was an endowed James Michener Fellow in screenwriting and fiction 1995-1997, earning an MFA — yet again from the University of Texas.
From interviews and collaboration with noted national homeless organizer and activist, the late Ron Casanova, Blackburn wrote Each One Teach One: Up and Out of Poverty — Memoirs of a Street Activist (Curbstone Press, 1996), which Kirkus Reviews lauded as “A valuable firsthand account of a street survivor’s harrowing experiences.” The book is now available through Northwestern University Press.
On January 15, 2002, Blackburn was the featured author of PEN International's winter lecture series in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. He read from his book The Extinction of Rhinos in Mexico: 9 Tales of Life and Death (Xlibris, 2001).
In October and November of 2012, Fierce Backbone Theatre Company in Hollywood produced his play THE ROCK OF ABANDON, a noir murder mystery featuring the notorious playwright Euripides as the detective.
Blackburn lives in Los Angeles with his wife Consuelo Flores, who has an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from Antioch University.