IN THIS PLACE... • 2008-12

By Ain Gordon

Starring Michelle Hurst

 

1830: Samuel and Daphney Oldham are the first free African-Americans to build their own home in Lexington, KY. Five years later, they disappear. Now, award winning artist Ain Gordon imagines the full story behind these bare facts as told from Daphney's perspective in a new one-woman play featuring Brooklyn’s own Michelle Hurst.

 

“I began to question the relevance of historical plaques and wondered what the forgotten and unmarked stories were,” Gordon explains. As he surveyed the city, Gordon discovered an abandoned, unmarked house that, upon further investigation, turned out to have been built by Samuel Oldham, the first African-American landowner in Lexington.

 

Following a multi-year development process, including numerous interviews with local historians and archival research, In This Place... imagines the Oldham’s lives, and 19th century Lexington, through the eyes of Samuel Oldham’s wife, Daphney. In the play, Daphney comes back as a ghost striving to remember her “living days,” in fact, her history. Interwoven are images of her after-life and a phantom Lexington populated by the famous and the disappeared, a land where every building that ever stood – still stands.

 

In this Place... was made possible, in part, with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Multi-Arts Production Fund founded by the Rockefeller Foundation, and LexArts.

Photos by Victor Jouvert