Buffalo Soldiers: The Legacy Opens at the
Overture Center
Continuum of Time
The cast and crew - Top row: Infinity Gamble (l-r), Belinda
Richardson,,Richard "Scotty" Scott, Quantez Williams,
Reum "Blue" Currie  Front row: Richard Scott Sr,, William
Greer, Joseph Nigh, David Krause, Robert Agnew, Caliph
Muab-El, Tiffany Derden, Al Lynk
Not pictured: Ian Scott, Naima Scott
women that were not necessarily very positive. She addressed that.”

While Scott has not changed the play at all from the play that was produced four years ago, it will naturally not be the same play that
was produced back then.

“The actors bring their own interpretation of their characters to the production,” Scott said. “For instance, William Curry is Jamaican. He
brings that. When you say Buffalo Soldiers, people automatically think of Bob Marley and think of it in Jamaican terms. There were
Jamaicans who were brought from Africa to Jamaica to the U.S. and they also fought. We don’t see or hear about that. We aren’t familiar
with the fact that these too were soldiers in the military. We have folks like Joe and David Krause who are also victims of an insidious
viewpoint of what these soldiers are about and what they could do. They were basically viewed as slaves in blue uniforms. They had to
fight to prove that they had the rights and the ability to represent themselves and their families. That’s why we called it ‘The Legacy.’
They wanted to leave a proud legacy for their children and grandchildren.”

William Greer will be reprising his role as Sargeant McPherson, the lead character. And while it may be the same character, Greer
looks at him differently now.

“When it started out, I think I played him as a more one-dimensional figure,” Greer said. “He was all about pride and duty and making
sure that everything was done in a proper military fashion, the veteran, the person who carried the weight of the troop and history on
his shoulders. But I’ve tried now as I play him to introduce the sense of compassions, that sense of really trying to understand more the
viewpoint of his men, certainly the viewpoint of his enemy and the viewpoint of the White soldiers that he was interacting with. I’m
trying to make him a more well-rounded character who can see other people’s insight rather than just that driving, one-focused
individual who is going to get his job done hell or high water.”

While the play is about the legacy of the Buffalo Soldiers, this production is also about the legacy and place of African American theater
in Madison. Should it be relegated to the high schools or does it belong in Madison’s showcase of the performing arts, the Overture
Center?

“I think that it is very important that efforts like this on the part of local playwrights and actors be supported by the community,” Greer
said. “The Overture Center has been gracious enough to allow us an opportunity to come back into that venue, which is one of the best
in the state to offer this production. If it is well-attended, if it is perceived by the community once again to be something worth doing and
going to, then I think other productions like ours have a better chance of achieving that stage. I really want to encourage people,
particularly young people to come and see the play and then to read up more about the buffalo soldiers.”

The legacy of the Buffalo Soldiers is one that rings true today.

Buffalo Soldiers: "The Legacy" will be presented May 21 – 22, 7 p.m. at the Overture Center’s The Playhouse. Tickets are now on sale at
the Overture ticket office by phone: (608) 258-4141 or if in person: call first for hours of ticket office operation. All seats are general
admission. Due to the limited seating capacity, people are encouraged to purchase their tickets in advance.
By Jonathan Gramling

There is an old saying that the more things change, the more they remain
the same. And sometimes things do change.

Four years ago, Richard Scott wrote and directed Buffalo Soldiers: The
Legacy about the renowned African American soldiers who fought out
West after the end of the Civil War. Scott had to break new ground for
African American theater in Madison to produce the play like he wanted to
produce it.

“People said, ‘Why don’t you just do it at East High School,’” Scott
recalled during rehearsals for a second run for the play at the Overture
Center. “I was still a counselor at East. I said, ‘No. I love East High
School, but the venue, stage and seating are just not appropriate for what
we are doing, historically speaking. It deserves recognition on a higher
integrity level.’ The place that I saw was the Overture Center. It was
interesting because many of the people whom I talked to looked at me
with a razed eyebrow and said ‘Really?’ And I said, ‘Really.’”

Buffalo Soldiers had an impressive run at the Overture Center with both
nights sold out and dozens of people left waiting in line, unable to see the
play. And then through a Liesl Blockstein award through the Dane County
Cultural Affairs Commission, the troupe took the play on the road to
Madison College-Truax and the Middleton Performing Arts Center in 2010.

One good turn deserves another and so for the past few months, KOJO Productions has been in rehearsal for the past few months at the
Goodman Community Center’s Loft. Buffalo Soldiers is a play that has old and new meaning whenever it is performed.

“Buffalo Soldiers didn’t happen until post-Civil War,” Scott said. “A lot of people get that confused with the 54th Massachusetts, which
was during the Civil War. The time frame we were looking at was the mid to late 1860s where we had the emancipated from the South and
we had African American business people who were going out West looking for new opportunities. We had families coming out looking for
a new way of life.”

They got the name Buffalo Soldier due to the qualities that the African American soldiers had that reminded the American Indians they
fought about the buffalo.
“At Ft. Huachuca, the person who gave us a tour told us that there was actually a skirmish where
there were a couple of African American soldiers who held off a large group of Cheyenne
Indians,” said Joseph Nigh, who plays Cpl. Westley in the play. “And although they were shot with
several arrows, shot with bullets, the Cheyenne said, ‘They just don’t die. They keep fighting. They
are so tenacious. You can’t kill them.’ That’s when they were called buffalo soldiers. Buffalo don’t
die easily.”

Scott wrote the play because he was interested in this era of African American history. And what
he found were some of the same issues that African Americans and others find today.

“We’re exploring segregation, discrimination and two oppressed groups of people who are getting
pitted against each other for a country that didn’t like either one of them,” Scott said. “There were
those issues in terms of the moral concepts that these soldiers had to go through and their
spirituality. It did affect them spiritually. A lot of these soldiers were brought together and they didn’
t know each other. Some of them had academic and educational skills while others were totally
illiterate. So there was that friction between them. We have that antagonistic perspective in the
play. These were all of the different kinds of things in terms of the concepts that can be transferred
from the 19th century all the way to the 21st century. If we look at some of the same issues, it’s
just a different uniform and it is a different time. But some of the same racism things are going on,
some of the same classism things are going on. And even if you want to look at the person who is
Kathy Williams, she dressed as a man to join the army. There are issues in terms of being
accepted. And she even talks about being accepted for who she is. There is this perception about