With Local Tensions High, Theater Production in Hanover Takes on Race

Sep 18, 2017

Dartmouth’s Hopkins Center for the Arts staged two shows last weekend of “Antigone in Ferguson.” The play draws connections between the ancient Greek tragedy and the 2014 shooting of Michael Brown.

Conversation after the show touched on recent events just south of Hanover, in Claremont. The family of a young boy there alleges a group of local teenagers attempted to hang the child by a rope in a racially motivated attack. They say he nearly died.

After the performance Saturday in Hanover, four black Upper Valley residents were invited on stage for a community discussion about racism. As the night was drawing to a close, the music began ramping up for a final song. But one of the local residents on stage, activist Olivia Lapierre, signaled to the director that she wanted to make one final comment.

He cut off the band.

“Please do something to help in Claremont,” she urged the largely white audience. ”This child needs more than your prayers and your tears. He needs you to stand up for him in the criminal justice system.'

The boy’s family alleges local police initially mishandled the investigation and all but abandoned it before the incident hit the news. Claremont Police Chief Mark Chase said his department took it seriously from the beginning. State investigators are now involved.