A Lesson Before Dying

A lesson for a student, a lesson for a teacher and a lesson for a community.

A tense court room moment as the prisoner speaks.

Photo: Gail Hayes

Seated in this tense moment are Emma (Janice Williams), Rev. Ambrose (George Dixon) and, standing, Jefferson (Greg Henderson).

Event Information

A Lesson Before Dying

Drama by Ernest Gaines; adapted by Romulus Linney Directed by Jeff Lorick


Community Theatre of Terre Haute 1432 S. 25th St. Terre Haute, IN 47803

October 21,22, 23 and 28,29, 30

Box office 812 232 7172/3 ctthtickets@yahoo.com www.ctth.org

When the Community Theatre of Terre Haute’s Sharon Russell and Jeff Lorick were reading through plays for the season, they both agreed on Romulus Linney’s adaptation of Ernest Gaine’s A Lesson Before Dying.

All Volunteer

The Community Theatre of Terre Haute is an all volunteer organization with a long history. Sharon Russell has served in a variety of ways both on- and off-stage. She directed Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap, this season’s opener.

Russell is currently taking a turn for his second year as the group’s president.

Powerful Theatre

“A Lesson Before Dying was such a powerful piece,” says Russell. ”Although it’s set long ago, it’s still timely. In fact, in light of recent events is seemed very important to bring it to our audience.”

Like Russell, the production’s director Jeff Lorick is a regular volunteer. By day, he’s Terre Haute’s Director of Human Relations. “The play is set in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in 1948,” he explains, “a time when the country was deeply divided by race issues. Jim Crow was in vogue and the greater population saw Afro-Americans as less than human.”

Lorick goes on. “The teacher—at least, the formal teacher—of A Lesson Before Dying’s lesson, is a man who hates the South, hates teaching and even hates himself. The prisoner’s godmother comes to him to help her godson rise to face his death like a man. For her that means a literate man. The title of the play uses the word ‘a’ lesson instead of ‘the’ lesson because each of these men learns something.”

George Walker

George Walker was born in Winchester, Virginia, and raised in Owl’s Head, Maine, and Valhalla, New York. After graduating from the University of Michigan, he came to Bloomington in 1966 and completed an M.A.T. degree in English at Indiana University. George began announcing for WFIU in 1967. Currently, along with regularly hosting classical music shows, he interviews artists in a wide variety of areas and reviews plays and operas. He’s the proud father of grown sons Ben Walker (and his wife Elise Katzif Walker) and Aaron Walker. In his time away from WFIU, George enjoys an active life with wife Carolyn Lipson-Walker, singing, reading, exercising and playing guitar.

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