THE STORY: As described in the Boston Herald Traveler: “The drama was woven around a young girl, played by Abbey Lincoln, befriended by an artist looking for a model of a grass-roots woman, ignorant and unattractive, for his triptych. It opens amidst Negro riots that have burned the girl out of her apartment and Abbey gets off a few cracks that hit home when the artist and his friends haul out the Afro-American bit by crying, 'The Afro-Americans burnt down my home. They holler 'Whitey’ but who did they burn down—me!' There were many poignant moments as the two were magnetically drawn together and pushed apart. Abbey’s fear of falling in love with the artist, his desire to hold her there only long enough to paint her for his triptych, her disillusionment when she finds out, from Old Timer, one of the neighborhood’s characters, that he wants a woman who’s ugly and ignorant for his model. What WINE IN THE WILDERNESS captured was the turmoil the blacks feel, the pretenses they assume—like wearing straight-haired wigs—the looting of their own people in a riot—something Old Timer rationalized in a humorous manner.” But something which, like the other deeply felt revelations in the play, goes directly and surely to the heart of the racial dilemma.
First produced on educational television in Boston as part of a special experimental series of black drama, this compelling and highly imaginative play speaks eloquently of the black experience in America. “…a superb and shattering drama of raw emotions.” —Boston Herald Traveler. “…the perfect premiere for his ambitious local project.” —Boston Globe.