FANNIE LOU HAMER, SPEAK ON IT! presented by Know Theatre of Cincinnati through Oct. 4. I attended the opening Thursday performance.

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             Nathan Singer as Music Man. Elizabeth Leigh Taylor as Fannie.

At one point in the performance, Fannie makes the observation that she isn’t sure if she has traveled to the future or if we, the audience, have traveled to the past. Just one of many gut punches of truth contained in this excellent 40-ish minute production.

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Elizabeth Leigh Taylor as Fannie.

Elizabeth Leigh Taylor impresses as the titular character. Part call to action and part revival, Taylor is captivating in her performance (and vocals) as the civil rights activist, bringing Hamer’s passion, dignity, hard-earned wisdom, and faith to the forefront. Nathan Singer in the supporting role of Music Man provides the perfect combination of  musical and vocal support.

Adapted by playwright Cheryl L. West from her play, Fannie, the script focuses on the heart-wrenching and dangerous struggles of Black voters to simply register to vote in the South during the Jim Crow era.

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Nathan Singer as Music Man. Elizabeth Leigh Taylor as Fannie.

Director Derek Snow does an excellent job of creating the atmosphere of the work. Even though the performance is “confined” to the bed of a pickup truck, the blocking feels completely natural. 

Congratulations to the entire technical team for their hard work in making this show the traveling success that it is.

Pay-what-you-can performances continue through Sunday evening. The Saturday evening performance will be live-streamed. You can even register to vote at the performances. 

My rating: 5 out of 5.

Click here for more information on the production.

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