Videographer's play wins in WMAR competition Remembering: In Kim Moir's drama, an African- American man today is visited by the spirit of a 1950s lynching victim who is demanding vengeance,

On the Air

December 15, 1996|By Chris Kaltenbach | Chris Kaltenbach,SUN STAFF

Kim Moir has never doubted for a minute that his future was in the movies. From studying media arts at college to working as a videographer for Maryland Public Television, he's kept his eye on that goal.

Last week, he took yet another step, winning WMAR's annual drama competition in honor of Black History Month. The prize: come February, he'll see his play on TV, produced by the Arena Players and broadcast on Channel 2.

"Oh yeah, it's a boost, a real boost," says Moir, 36, a Baltimore native. "There's been a constant self-education on my part to put myself in the position where, if the opportunity presented itself to work in the movies, I'd be prepared."

His play, "Killing Memory," is the story of a 1990s African-American who becomes the living conduit for the vengeance-seeking spirit of a black man lynched during the 1950s.

"The spirit essentially latches himself onto this [character] and is prompting him to murder the individuals who were responsible for his lynching in the first place," Moir says from his Northwest Baltimore home, where he lives with his wife, Deborah, an advertising coordinator for The Sun, and their 11-year-old daughter, Kamaria. "He's not a willing participant in it at all, [but] he grows into it in the process of the play."

Amini Courts, artistic director for the Arena Players, says she and her fellow contest judges were impressed with the quality of Moir's writing, as well as his subject matter.

"It was very well written, compared to the amateur or novice playwrights whose work we often get," says Courts, noting that judges sifted through 57 scripts.

"I think that it will give pause for thought," she adds. "Just as many Jewish people don't want the world to forget the Holocaust, many African-Americans don't want people to forget the time of the lynchings, when so many people were killed just because they were black."

Moir says the idea for the play has been kicking around in his head for years. An earlier version, titled "Time Will Tell," took third place in last year's competition.

His inspiration, he says, came from two sources: the 1955 lynching of Emmett Till in Mississippi, and the 1988 trial in Israel of former Ohio auto worker George Demjanjuk, who was found guilty of war crimes committed during the Holocaust, but later released from prison after that conviction was overturned on appeal.

Noting that Demjanjuk was convicted of crimes that occurred decades earlier, he notes, "There are basically American criminals who were responsible for lynchings in the pre-civil rights era who live among us today. The play is certainly an indictment of the fact that the individuals who committed these acts were never prosecuted."

At the same time, he says, "Killing Memory" probes even deeper into the question of guilt, as well as retribution.

"There's no future in hatred," Moir says. "When the past, present and future exist in one place, something has got to give."

Academic honors

Kudos to the folks at Altman Productions responsible for "It's Academic," the local quiz show that for 25 years has spotlighted the best, brightest and fastest high school students in Baltimore and Washington.

The show, which airs 9 a.m.-9: 30 a.m. Saturdays on WJZ, Channel 13, was cited by Baltimore-based Action for Children and Youth as the "Outstanding Locally Produced Regularly Scheduled Children's Program."

Successful drive

What looks like the most successful pledge drive to date wraps up today on Maryland Public Television, Channels 22 and 67.

Only five days into the 12-day drive, MPT already had raised more than half of its $500,000 goal, with a total of $298,727 pledged. By day eight, that total had risen to nearly $400,000. One show alone, the Dec. 4 airing of "The Morgan Choir: A Silver Celebration," raised more than $70,000 -- a record for a local production. And a Dec. 12 airing of "River-dance" raised over $45,500.

Guess the folks on Bonita Avenue are doing something right.

Published review

Froggy 100.7 (that's WGRX-FM, to those not into amphibians) disc jockey Kelly Green wants everyone to know that her review of the new album from Lee Roy Parnell will appear in the Dec. 24 issue of Country Weekly.

Yeah, yeah, everybody's a critic.

Pub Date: 12/15/96

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