What I Learned In Paris
The city of Atlanta, Georgia has always been at the forefront of one of the most progressive cities in the last 4 years. When Maynard Jackson was elected mayor in 1973, it would turn the city of Atlanta into a place where African-Americans would flock to for a new start. Young politicians saw Atlanta as an opportunity to make a difference in their community, college students saw it as a place to attend well-known institutions like Spelman and Morehouse College, and lastly it was a place where African-Americans were leading the way for change.
Nationally recognized author and playwright Pearl Cleage, served as Maynard Jackson’s speechwriter and press secretary during his campaign. It was during her experience that she was inspired to write her play What I Learned in Paris, which is now playing at the Indiana Repertory Theatre until April 12th.
The year 1973 was the setting of the play, which followed 5 friends who assisted during the campaign that would make Jackson the first African-American mayor of the city of Atlanta. During the campaign, somehow the 5 friends seemed to find fulfillment in their roles while working on the campaign, yet they somehow could not deny their calling placed on their hearts for love and new beginnings.
There are a number of issues that were discussed during the play. The year 1973 brought about a new beginning of topics such as racial equality, women’s rights, and new roles for African-Americans who wanted to explore leadership opportunities. Audiences will cry, laugh, sing, and reminisce during the 2 hour 30 minute play.
What I Learned in Paris is a comedy that plants the seed of possibility into all those who attend. Like the characters, it causes the attendee not to be afraid to dream about what could be and what could become.