When Mandy Kate, a young slave girl, overhears a threat to sell her brother-in-law Robert, she rushes to warn her sister Sarah. The family plans to escape together, but Mandy Kate is inadvertently left behind when trying to help another slave, Old Job. Together the old man and young girl must set off on their own. They disguise themselvesOld Job as a woman (Josephine) and Mandy Kate as a boy (Abe)and are initially helped by a clever country boy and his eccentric elderly aunt. Mandy Kate and Old Job are later guided through several stops on the Underground Railroad and endure a hair-raising chase. Finally, the two summon up the courage to cross a dangerous bridge to the safety of Canada. An ensemble singing Negro spirituals adds haunting, poetic beauty to this gripping tale of reaching for freedom. Ideal for Black History month observances. Full evening.
PLAYWRIGHT KATE EMERY POGUE
TALKS ABOUT “FREEDOM TRAIN - THE COURAGE OF MANDY KATE BROWN”
This play was commissioned in 1999 by Early Stages, the family theatre division of Stages Repertory Theatre in Houston, Texas. Directed by Rachel Hemphill and produced by Chesley Krohn, the play, originally titled, “The Courage of Mandy Kate Brown,” was presented in two separate seasons for Black History Month. The idea for the play stemmed from author Kate Emery Pogue’s early admiration for the Underground Railroad, and from the fact that the United States’ National Park System was at that time in the process of linking many known stops on the Underground Railroad to one another to establish a new kind of National Park. Visitors can now follow in the steps of escaping slaves from the deep South to freedom in the North. A crisis in this play comes with the passage of the fugitive slave act which forced escaping slaves into Canada to find real freedom. The goal of “Freedom Train” was to make this journey and this moment in history come alive to modern audiences.