By Charlie Breitrose
Watertown MA News
Visitors to Watertown Square may have recently noticed an enthusiastic, precocious and out-spoken young man wandering around the area. Charles Lenox, or Kadahj Bennett portraying Lenox, will gladly share his views about the major issues of his time — the 1860s — many of which are familiar to people today.
The performance, called the Charles W. Lenox Experience, is the first of New Repertory Theatre’s Historical Moving Plays, and focuses on a real Watertown resident during the time of the Civil War.
The play runs on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through Nov. 18, 2020.
Lenox was a real man who ran a barbershop with his father in Watertown Square which was located next to the old Town Hall, in a building that stood where Stellina restaurant operated.
Director Michael Ofori said the play is intended not only to entertain people and teach them about the Town’s history. With the discussion of racial injustice that has arisen during the COVID-19 pandemic, Ofori said he hopes that audiences also think about the present day.
“What aspect of Charles Lenox’s life can be instructive to people today?” Ofori said.
As an African-American man, Lenox tells the audience about how he was torn between keeping his father’s successful barbershop going and joining the Union Army’s 54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment (the all-Black unit portrayed in the movie Glory).