While touring the Holy Land several years ago I visited a church which had some rather unique art on display. Lining the walls were dozens of depictions of the Madonna and Christ-child. Jesus was pictured as Asian, Caucasian, black and Hispanic. Every culture had made him their own. And that makes sense, because if he really is Immanuel (which means "God with us") then he belongs to all of us. Langston Hughes latched on to this idea in his play Black Nativity. Originally named Wasn't It a Mighty Day?, Hughes' play retells the story of the first Christmas in a way that is distinctively black. In addition to an all-black cast, traditional Christmas carols are sung in the gospel style and African drums and percussion are included. Black Nativity will be performed by New Arts Six, a troupe of classically trained performance artists dedicated to preserving African-American music, poetry and literature. The play runs at 8 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday at the Hampton/Illinois Branch Library Black Box Theatre, 2951 S. Hampton Road. For tickets call 214-948-0716.
Thu., Dec. 27, 8 p.m.; Fri., Dec. 28, 8 p.m.; Sat., Dec. 29, 8 p.m., 2007