Baltimore has had a rough go in the past few months, with the high profile case of Freddie Gray and the unrest that followed his death in police custody. Some would say — particularly in the local area — that Baltimore has had a rough go of it for much longer than that and the world just got a better glimpse at it all. And they’d probably be right.
On Saturday, the cast of HBO’s The Wire attempted to highlight some of this and give back to the community that was brought to life on the screen by David Simon. There are more stories than just Freddie Gray and the scenes we all saw on CNN, something that Sonja Sohn was hoping that the cast could show by reading monologues written by members of the community. She spoke with the Baltimore Sun about Saturday’s event, speaking on the motivations behind putting on the production:
“We lived here while we were shooting and became a part of these communities. There’s a real core group of us who feel parts of Baltimore are woven into who we are as result of the time we spent here,” said the 51-year-old actress who played Detective Shakima Greggs on the series, which aired from 2002 to 2008.
“One thing we as artists can give back is that we know the power of storytelling,” she added. “We know how it heals and radiates outward and what it inspires in other people. And so, we’re going to give a platform to these folks who felt they were not being heard.”
Many actors from the show made appearances to read these stories, including Dominic West, Michael Kenneth Williams, Wendell Pierce, Seth Gilliam, Chad L. Coleman, Larry Gilliard Jr., Andre Royo, Gbenga Akinnagbe, Jaime Hector, Tristan “Mack” Wilds and Felicia “Snoop” Pearson. The Sun noted that many of the residents that penned some of the monologues will be on stage with the actors as they read the stories, offering an even better glimpse of the events being described. No matter, the importance of the event is clear according to Philip Leaf:
“Even if an institution as big as Hopkins was doing this, nobody would have paid attention,” said Philip Leaf, professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
“But the fact that it’s the people from ‘The Wire’ doing this, No. 1, it’s going to get attention,” he continued. “And also, they’re pretty credible actors. They’re able to take and represent the voices in an exciting way. The stories are engaging, and now they are going to be told with the help of professionals.”
You can check out Sonja Sohn talking about the event in our recent interview and in the video below. We’ll be on the look out for more from the stage once it becomes available. It’s sure to be something to see for fans of the show or just people looking for some insight.