July 15-16: A Classic Theatre presents A Tea with Zora & Marjorie

Rhodie Jackson (Zora) and Nancy Grote (Marjorie). Contributed image

St. Augustine, FL —  Zora?  Marjorie?  Who are these women?

Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings is well known to Florida readers as the author of “The Yearling” (1938) and of  “Cross Creek” (1942).  A woman who came to Florida from the North and fell in love with the flora and fauna of rural Florida…it became her refuge.

Zora Neale Hurston is a New York-educated writer, born in Alabama and raised in the all-black town of Eatonville, Florida. She came to prominence during the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920’s and was noted for her personality, wit and writing talent.  Zora returned to her roots in Eatonville to collect stories and write about the folklore of the region.  Among Hurston’s acclaimed books are “Their Eyes Were Watching God” (1937) and “Dust Tracks On A Road” (1942).

 “They saw themselves as renegades and as daring, and they loved adventure,” said playwright Barbara Speisman.  “They were two women who were from very different worlds.”  They both lived in St. Augustine.  And despite the prevailing climate of segregation, they became friends!

Speisman’s play imagines the first meeting of these two headstrong women in 1942, both at the height of their success, at Rawlings’ upstairs apartment at the segregated Castle Warden hotel in St. Augustine, and their ensuing conversation over “tea” – a colloquialism for whiskey!

”I’ve never been more entertained than I was today,” Rawlings said in a letter after this first meeting.

Directed by Jean Rahner, performances are 7:30 p.m. Saturday, July 15, and 2 p.m. Sunday, July 16 at the Lincolnville Museum Cultural Center, 102 ML King Ave., St. Augustine.

Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for students. Tickets are available online at www.aclassictheatre.org or by calling 904-501-5093.

For more details, email aclassictheatre@hotmail.com or for reservations.

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