They Do Not Know Harlem: 

In Communion with James Baldwin

Created, choreographed, and performed by Tristan Parks 

Directed by Kathy Williams 

September 25th & 26th @ 7:30 p.m. 

James Arthur Baldwin. A son. A brother. A seer who has seen much and transatlantic commuter. Baldwin’s tour de force canon of writing – The Fire Next Time, Go Tell It on the Mountain and Notes of a Native Son – traverses his familial life, his profound relationship to his father and the community that raised him – Harlem. They Do Not Know Harlem: In Communion with James Baldwin imagines how one comes to shape home for themselves when met with the neurosis of familial dynamics, race and coming-of-age. Baldwin’s voice is a guide through this individual and collectivized exploration. The game is afoot. And the game is good. And so it is. 

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Join Us for a virtual live stream of They Do Not Know Harlem: In Communion with James Baldwin

A reading of the play created, choreographed, and performed by Tristan Parks
Directed by Kathy Williams
September 25th and 26th @ 7:30 p.m.
This production will be presented as a staged reading in a live streaming format. If you would like to attend the virtual performance, you must reserve a space by filling out this form. Who do we turn to during a global pandemic? Who is it that we turn to when there are political uprisings domestic and abroad for black lives? They Do Not Know Harlem: In Communion with James Baldwin is a homecoming that finds Tristan Parks alongside his community summoning the spirit of James Baldwin to excavate the idol of race and the disillusionment of white supremacy.

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How does one's black and queer life define "home" in relation to the Western World? Baldwin's voice demands that Tristan grapples with ghosts of his own history and invites the audience to bear witness. 


Tristan Parks states that They Do Not Know Harlem: In Communion with James Baldwin, "began its development process two years ago as a part of my third-year solo performance graduate thesis. It has been a lifelong goal to develop work centered on our beloved James Baldwin. I look forward to being in deep query with my North Carolinian community about how this work can expand and continuously affect the global community, because we need Baba Jimmy more than ever during these unforeseen times. We need to channel his prophecies so that hope is not lost.  That is my biggest hope." 


The piece was workshopped in Fall 2018 and Spring 2019 at Duke University's Slippage Lab in collaboration with Professor Thomas DeFrantz and has taken on collaborators throughout the triangle such as Brenton Harrison, Lisa Suzanne, Sinclair Palmer, Aarik Duncan, Alan Thompson, CJ Suitt, Caique Vidale, Lance Garrett, Alejandro Rodriguez, Derek Graham, Jessica Graham, and the project's director and UNC professor, Kathy Hunter-Williams. Process Series director, Joseph Megel, notes, “This process performance will focus exclusively on the text of Tristan’s piece. We are so excited to once again be providing an artist an opportunity to develop their work, as it will move on next year to the PlayMakers Rep season, when hopefully audiences can experience the entire piece live and in person.”  


This live stream is part of the UNC Process Series and is co-sponsored by Playmakers Repertory Company and the Department of Dramatic Art. Tickets for the virtual show are free, but you must reserve a space by clicking on the button below.. We will contact you with a link a few days prior to the performance. A suggested donation of $10 can be made to support our production costs by visiting this link.