The Carleton Players present “Harlem Nocturne”

February 16, 2016

The Carleton Players, the College’s premier theater ensemble, are pleased to present an original new play, “Harlem Nocturne,” written and directed by theater professor David Wiles. Performances, in the Weitz Center for Creativity Theater, are nightly at 7:30 p.m.  Fridays and Saturdays, Feb. 19, 20, 26 and 27, with matinee performances at 2:30 p.m. Sundays, Feb. 21 and 28. Reservations can be made online at

Harlem Nocturne is set in New York City in the summer of 1927 at the height of what has become known as “The Harlem Renaissance.” Although it’s a “period” play, it deals with issues around race that are sadly still relevant.

The central characters in the play are representatives of what the people whose efforts created and drove the Renaissance termed “The New Negro,” African-American’s whose educations and economic circumstances should have positioned them to achieve the “American Dream” but for their place in the racial caste system. The play explores the conflicts within and between family members and old friends that are generated by the contradictions of living with what W.E.B. DuBois called “...this double- consciousness, this sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others....”

“Harlem Nocturne” uses irony and (“I certainly hope,” says Wiles) humor to deal with “passing.” Two of the central characters are African-Americans whose complexions allow them to live as white when they choose to. It explores color prejudice among African-Americans, class consciousness, family conflict, the necessity of friendship and the consolations of art and music, along with the simple fact that there are loves and losses that affect us all in ways that transcend even race.

This event is sponsored by the Department of Theater and Dance. For more information, including disability accommodations, call (507) 222-5567. The Weitz Center for Creativity is located at Third and College Streets in Northfield.