How far is too far when fighting for something you believe in? And how do you live with deep regret if you’ve hurt someone in the process? The Willy Holtzman political play Something You Did explores these questions and vies for an answer.
In the production, Alison Moulton, (played by actress Deborah Hazlett), is now approaching her 30th year in prison for a radical anti-war bombing that resulted in the death of a police officer. When Alison’s lawyer pitches a plan for her parole, she objects and hatches her own plan. In efforts to garner her freedom, she wants to reach out to Lenora (Aakhu Freeman), the daughter of the slain policeman.
For Freeman, getting into her role meant doing some extensive research on the play’s main source of inspiration—an actual radical group that committed a series of crimes fueled by their beliefs.
“I read up on the woman character is based on—Kathy Boudin, who was a member of the Weather Underground,” Freeman told the AFRO in a recent interview. “I did some reading on and watched some videos to basically give me a sense of the time and what they were about.”
The Weather Underground was a ‘60s leftist organization that wanted to overthrow the U.S. government. In 1981, Boudin and other members of the group robbed a Brinks armored car that led to the death of three people. Following the incident, Boudin was caught and later tried. After serving 22 years in prison, she was eventually released in 2003.
Heavily relying on the nature of regret and the uncertainty of forgiveness, Something You Did also captures some important issues in American society, which Freeman believes will leave a lasting impression on audiences.
“The issues that we are dealing with in this society are not black and white—they are grey,” Freeman said. “We need some humanity and empathy in figuring out what to do with people who commit crime and what to do about the social injustices that to commit crimes. Hopefully it will be a catalyst for conversation.”
“Something You Did” debuted on Aug. 28 at Theater J and will run until Oct. 3. For more information, visit: www.theaterj.org.