Skip to Main Content

A Human Being, of a Sort

June 26 - July 7 | Nikos Stage
2019 Season

By Jonathan Payne
Directed by Whitney White
With André Braugher, Sullivan Jones, Matthew Saldivar, Keith Randolph Smith, Jeorge Bennett Watson, Frank WoodAntonio Michael Woodard

It’s 1906, and at the Bronx Zoological Park, an African-American convict named “Smokey” (Golden Globe and Emmy Award winner André Braugher) is guarding the zoo’s most sensational exhibit: Ota Benga (Antonio Michael Woodard), a Congolese pygmy. As the public’s fascination intensifies and protestors call for Ota’s release, Smokey must grapple with the fact that his own freedom depends on another black man’s captivity. Based on a true story, Jonathan Payne’s world premiere play, directed by Whitney White, exposes the complexity of power and compliance in a world where all lives do not seem to matter equally.



Elliott & Cathy Masie

The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation



Herbert A. Allen

James & Virginia Giddens

Jessica & Matt Harris

Andrew Martin-Weber

Paul Neely & Susan Street

& One Anonymous Donor



Sullivan Jones

Reverend William Slater

Matthew Saldivar

Samuel Phillips Verner

Keith Randolph Smith

Reverend George Sims

Jeorge Bennett Watson

Reverend James Gordon

Frank Wood

William Temple Hornaday


Scenic Designer
Costume Designer
Lighting Designer
Sound Designer


André Braugher as Smokey is “formidable” and Antonio Michael Woodard as Ota Benga “is brought to vivid life…in a story that sends out long ripples.”

-Jesse Green, The New York Times

“Skillful.” “Subtle.” “Superbly played.” “A play that gets under the skin.”

-Don Aucoin, The Boston Globe


Find Us

By Phone: (413) 458-3200
By Email:
By Snail Mail: PO Box 517
Williamstown, MA 01267