Trade with Klan: A Play About Choices
by Donald E. Baker
Resist or collaborate? Risk everything or lie low? Go along or get out? Ordinary people must make life-altering choices as the Ku Klux Klan pits neighbor against neighbor in a small Indiana town in the 1920’s. The religious prejudice and xenophobia of a century ago still echo in contemporary American society.
- Cast Size: 3M 4W
- Running Time: 90+ minutes
- Royalty Rate: $75 per performance
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I had the pleasure of seeing a reading of this play during Friday Night Footlights – Myrtle Beach a couple of years ago. Baker’s play is a haunting reminder that the past has not gone anywhere, and the racism that infected our communities then continue to infect our communities now. There are no easy answers, but perhaps by confronting out past we can begin to imagine and work toward a better future.
Just as “Inherit the Wind” by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee makes the point that their play isn’t about a specific moment in history — The Scopes Trial — “it could be yesterday; it could be tomorrow,” Donald E. Baker’s cautionary tale “Trade With Klan: A Play about Choices” isn’t just about a small town in Indiana in the thrall of the KKK. It’s about people nurturing their intolerance [so] that they resort to the comfort of bigotry and the assurance of their own self-indulgent righteousness. This is a universal lesson, and worth hearing again and again.
This period piece from Donald E. Baker perfectly captures the rural America of both past and contemporary society, and jolts one out of even the tiniest bit of complacency which may have set in since the change in administration with nearly every well-considered line. As timeless as it is timely, Trade With Klan is ugly, and brutal, and pulls no punches. It is a must read, must produce part of the ongoing American story.
Baker’s Trade With Klan outright reminds us that society has made little to no progress in 100 years. And in fact, today it feels like we’re on the verge of having history repeated, this time with heightened ferocity & defiance. We were living in dangerous times then and if we are not vigilant now, we may very well lose what little remains of our humanity. Conspiracies, resentment, hatred, paranoia, discrimination, sexism, racism, all burn deceptively like grass fire in this riveting dramedy. An unsettling script with exceptional dialogue & exquisitely drawn characters.