Here he is in one of his most masterful performances as Walter Lee Younger in Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun.
The play was originally directed on Broadway by Lloyd Richards, the first Black director on the Broadway stage. In their lean days as struggling actors, Richards and Poitier would pool their money to buy and split a hot dog. They promised each other that if one got an opportunity, they’d bring the other along. When Poitier got Hansberry’s script, he insisted that Lloyd direct the play. Lloyd worked intensely with Hansberry to shape the play and then cast and directed the play perfectly. The stage cast, many of whom were also in the film– and who you can see in this clip from the film–included Ruby Dee, Diana Sands, Claudia McNeil, and John Fiedler.
Last week in Part 1, we spoke with Olivia Laing about her fascinating new book Everybody. It’s a book about the work of psychologist Wilhelm Reich and the expanding influence his ideas had, especially that of “character armor,” that is, the idea that our emotional memories are physically retained within the musculature of our bodies.
We ended by my asking Olivia Laing whether Reich had gone over the deep end in his later years. This week we talk about the wide range of artists and thinkers that Reich influenced, including Andrea Dworkin, Nina Simone, Lorraine Hansberry, and James Baldwin.
Click on the triangle or mp3 link above to hear my conversation with Olivia Laing as broadcast yesterday on WBAI and Pacifica affiliates across the nation.