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Don't Start Me to Talking...

John O'Neal


A collection of nine plays by the acclaimed performer and civil rights activist John O’Neal.

"The subtlety and strength of Mr. O'Neal's performance are something to behold. He is a very funny man and a great actor." — New Yorker

"A dramatic tale spinner with a canny sense of humor and a winning, engaging stage presence... O'Neal's shows mix folksiness, a sophisticated sense of theatricality and astute observation that are a pleasure to watch." — Philadelphia Inquirer

Artist and activist John O'Neal is best known for his Junebug Jabbo Jones cycle of plays, a remarkable collection of tales and anecdotes drawn from African-American oral literature, which he has performed all over the globe. Five of these plays are included in this career-spanning volume, along with four of O'Neal's large-scale ensemble productions, performed by his ensemble company Junebug Productions, and in cross-cultural collaboration with A Travelling Jewish Theater (San Francisco, California), Roadside Theater (Kentucky), and Pregones Theater (Bronx, New York).

John O'Neal co-founded the Free Southern Theater in 1963 as a cultural arm of the southern Civil Rights movement, and later founded Junebug Productions, a professional African-American arts organization in New Orleans. For FST, O'Neal worked as a field director for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and worked as national field program director with the Committee for Racial Justice. He has written eighteen plays, a musical comedy, poetry, and several essays, and has performed throughout the United States, Canada, France, and Scandinavia. He is the recipient of the Award of Merit from the Association of Performing Arts Presenters, the United States Artists Award, and a Ford Foundation Award.

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