The Trial of Moses "Fleetwood" Walker | Black Ensemble Theater Cultural Center | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader
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The Trial of Moses "Fleetwood" Walker 

When: Thursdays-Sundays. Continues through March 15 2015
Price: $55-$65
In 1891 Moses Fleetwood (“Fleet”) Walker, the first African-American baseball player in the majors, was charged with second-degree murder in the killing of a white man outside a New York saloon. First-time playwright Ervin Gardner’s courtroom drama reconstructs his three-day trial, which this Black Ensemble Theater production brings into the present with projected news clippings ranging from 1800s lynchings to Eric Garner. A considerable portion of the proceedings is spent trying to determine who was drunk at the time of the incident, but the amateurish, oddly stilted acting had me asking whether I was the one drunk: among other crimes, witnesses deliver lines in accents that stray from merry olde England to the south, and Walker’s head defense attorney might as well be HAL 9000 in a three-piece suit. There are none of the musical showstoppers BET is known for, but Jackie Taylor’s original score is zippy and suspenseful even if the strings are a little schmaltzy. —Jena Cutie



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