Rites and reason at 50 The late Professor George Houston Bass (standing, right) leads rehearsal for his anti-war play, O Lord, This World!, in 1972. Also standing is James B. Borders IV ’71, ’78 AM, one of the founders of a late 1960s student theater group that grew out of the frustrations of Black students at Brown who had no outlet for their culture. Officially founded by Bass in 1970, Rites and Reason Theatre is now one of the oldest continuously producing Black theaters in the nation. By 1975, it had become part of what was then called the Department of African American Studies and developed its signature Research-to-Performance Method, a collaborative, scholarly approach that engages professors, students, writers, and community members in the creation of new works. Bass developed the method with the late Professor Rhett S. Jones ’72 AM, ’76 PhD. The theater’s current mission is to “give expression to the diverse cultures and traditions of continental and diasporic Africans and the vast Africana experience.”
Foreground, from left: Jackie Page ’75, Deborah Thomas Benson ’73, Phyllis Hall Brown ’75. Background: Karlton Chapman ’73, Curtis Scott ’75.
PHOTO: BROWN ARCHIVES