“Is the American Dream at the expense of the American Negro?”
This was the topic on February 18, 1965 when an overflow crowd packed the Cambridge Union in Cambridge, England, to bear witness to a historic televised debate between James Baldwin, the leading literary voice of the civil rights movement, and William F. Buckley Jr., a fierce critic of the movement and America’s most influential conservative intellectual.
The stage was set for an epic confrontation that pitted Baldwin’s call for a moral revolution in race relations against Buckley’s unabashed elitism and implicit commitment to white supremacy. This historic clash reveals the deep roots and lasting legacy of racial conflict that continues to haunt America.
The objective of the american vicarious in restaging this historic debate is not to inhabit such monumental figures as James Baldwin or William F. Buckley, their shoes are too large to fill. Rather, our objective is to simply place their words, which still resonate 59 years later, within the voice of contemporary artists.
"Eric T Miller is a convincingly condescending Buckley, not least because he does not overdo the superiority that drips from him..." "Teagle F Bougere's Baldwin, often relaxed with hands in pockets, is commanding." - The Observer
"Eric T. Miller’s performance as Buckley is quietly chilling." "This is Teagle F. Bougere’s show though. He gives an absolutely riveting performance as Baldwin.” - The Stage ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
"Christopher Wareham and Tom Kiteley channel trembling earnestness and cocksure confidence respectively as a pair of Cambridge undergraduates.” - The Stage ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
"The setting is modern, apart from an old TV that replays some of the original footage, and there is no use of theatrical lighting or sound. Yet it is utterly captivating. The fierce eloquence and intellectual rigour of Baldwin and Buckley’s arguments have not lost any of their power." - The Guardian
"One of the most compelling examples of political theatre I've seen in years." - Broadway World UK ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
“With his slick-backed hair and eyeballing of the audience, Eric T. Miller revels in Buckley’s suave sophistry.” - The Times ⭐️⭐️⭐️
"Teagle F. Bougere is fantastic as Baldwin, softly spoken, calm and intellectual at first but becoming increasingly impassioned as his time wears on." "Eric T. Miller captures Buckley’s charisma ... revelling in the platform the debate gives him." - The Reviews Hub ⭐️⭐️⭐️
"Teagle F Bougere as Baldwin is magnificent – truly thrilling to watch. He delivers the eloquently crafted arguments with enormous power, dignity and poignancy." "Eric T Miller’s performance of Buckley is piercingly meticulous, self-aggrandising and manipulative." - Everything Theatre ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
NEW YORK PRESS:
"My best recommendation for the week is actually a play made with almost nothing — just bodies, in a room, with one staticky television set occasionally playing a clip." "Bougere (Baldwin) makes the production unmissable!" – Vulture
"Highbrow/Brilliant" The Approval Matrix, New York Magazine
"the american vicarious gives audiences a palpable sense of the electricity, animosity, and history coursing through the room." – TheaterMania
"It's not theater for the faint-hearted. What it is, however, is an engaging, exciting, and endlessly thought-provoking recreation of a watershed moment for American civil rights." – Stage Buddy