Playwright and associate professor, Jacqueline E. Lawton, wants to put Black and marginalized communities at the center of her work. Her most recent play, "Edges of Time," shows the life of Marvel Cooke, the first Black female journalist to have her own byline in a major U.S. newspaper.
The play, hosted by PlayMakers Repertory Company, will be streaming on their website from March 22 to April 4.
Set in 1963 during the early civil rights movement, "Edges of Time" focuses on Cooke, an investigative journalist seeking to share truthful news.
As Lawton researched for the play, she said she was heartbroken that she had never heard of Cooke prior to that point.
“I just think about what my life would have been like if I had known about this extraordinary Black woman doing this great work,” Lawton said. “So, I set out to write the play.”
The one-woman show features Kathryn Hunter-Williams, an associate professor at the University, as Cooke. Hunter-Williams was excited to learn about Cooke when she and Lawton first discussed the play. Hunter-Williams was also surprised that she didn't know anything about Cooke, as her parents were Black journalists.
Although Cooke had a similar career to Hunter-Williams' parents, she said she felt more connected to her grandmother, who was just three years older than Cooke.
“It was interesting to actually walk more in my grandmother's world, in terms of world events and worldview,” Hunter-Williams said.
Directed by Jules Odendahl-James, the play will give the audience both a history lesson about Cooke and serve as a way to put her story in a familiar context.