Elevator Repair Service: Baldwin and Buckley at Cambridge

In 1965 James Baldwin and William F. Buckley, Jr. were invited to The Cambridge University Union to debate the resolution “The American Dream is at the Expense of The American Negro.” The result was a provocative and profoundly insightful confrontation between Baldwin, one of the most powerful figures of the civil rights movement, and Buckley, often considered the father of 20th Century patrician conservatism.

New York-based performance ensemble Elevator Repair Service, a company with a rich history of adapting unconventional texts (Gatz, Arguendo, The Sound and the Fury), stages the debate verbatim. 

Production photo by Maria Baranova.

The piece was conceived in late 2019 by long-time ERS company member Greig Sargeant. In the many months since those early conversations with Artistic Director John Collins, the subject of the debate has only become more urgent. With both 1965 and 2022 in mind, Baldwin and Buckley at Cambridge—through a starkly simple design and an acting style that favors intimacy over impersonation—presents the debate as real, immediate, and of this moment.

This performance is funded by the generous support of Diane Levine.

Elevator Repair Service: Baldwin and Buckley at Cambridge
March 3 – 5, 2022
631 West 2nd Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Performances at 8:30pm

Purchase tickets here.

To ensure the safety of our community, we continue to follow Los Angeles County Public Health requirements and recommendations, as well as CalArts and Music Center policy. REDCAT will require full proof of vaccination, including booster, for those who are eligible, beginning with the run of performances for Elevator Repair Service: Baldwin and Buckleyat Cambridge, March 3 – 5. 

Please contact us at for assistance or for more information. 

Pauline Adamek

Pauline Adamek is a Los Angeles-based arts enthusiast with twenty-five years' experience covering International Film Festivals and reviewing new Theatre, Film and Restaurants.


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