This House Believes the American Dream is
at the Expense of the American Negro

Adapted and Directed by Zachary Baker-Salmon

A World Premiere at Oracle and with Theater on the Lake
Admission is FREE in Public Access Theatre™
August 21 – September 19, 2015
Friday, Saturday, Monday at 8PM
Sunday at 7PM

All performances are wheelchair accessible.
Select performances feature Captioning: Friday, September 11 at 8PM | Friday, September 18 at 8PM
Email with any questions.

Supported by:
The Reva & David Logan Foundation

 Photography by Joe Mazza, brave lux.


In 1965, the Cambridge Union Society hosted a debate between civil rights novelist, James Baldwin, and National Review founder, William F. Buckley, Jr. The subject: Has the American Dream been achieved at the expense of the American Negro? THIS HOUSE BELIEVES is a theatrical enactment of the debate adapted from the source material. Preserving the parliamentary debate format, audiences cast their vote on the topic prior to entering the house, and again after the performance. Oracle presents an immersive experience adapted from an historical moment. The debate exhibits the racial crises in 1960s America, but the ideas expressed are painfully relevant to 2015 that all of us who believe #BlackLivesMatter will encounter a profound live-performance experience.

Oracle is excited to offer this world-premiere following the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act.  2015 marks the 150th anniversary of the 13th Amendment, the 50th anniversary of The Voting Rights Act of 1965, and the 50th anniversary Baldwin/Buckley debate itself.


Oracle toured THIS HOUSE BELIEVES in co-production with Chicago Park District

August 5 – August 9, 2015
Washington Park Refectory
Coordinates on Google Maps.
August 12 – 15, 2015
Austin Town Hall
5610 W. Lake Street

Theater on the Lake is presented as part of the Chicago Park District’s Night Out in the Parks series, supported by Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Arts programming in neighborhoods across the city advances the goals of the Chicago Park District and the Chicago Cultural Plan. Now in its third year, the 2015 Night Out in the Parks series will host over 1,000 events and programs at more than 250 neighborhood parks throughout the city, making community parks a safe haven and hubs of activity. Projects will vary from traditional performances and concerts, to movies, peace rallies, community workshops, nature based programs, dance pieces, festivals, and more. The Chicago Park District has partnered with more than 80 arts and community organizations to expand and produce this successful initiative. Download the new My Chi Parks app for details on all upcoming events!


Distinguished Guests
Johnard Washington – James Baldwin
Jeremy Clark* – William F. Buckley, Jr.

Union Society Members
Ben Harpe – Norman St. John-Stevas
Adrian Garcia – The President
Daniel Desmarais – Mr. David Heycock, Pembroke College
Brian J. Hurst* – Mr. Jeremy Burford, Emmanuel College

Jamie Bragg* – Miss Margaret Powell, Girton College
Keegan Siebken – Mr. Brian Pollitt, King’s College
Harold Jaffe – Mr. Bamber Gascoigne, Magdalene College
Rory Jobst* – Mr. Barry Augenbraun, St. John’s College

Ben Harpe is understudy for William F. Buckley, Jr.


Production Design – Eleanor Kahn
Lighting Design – Michael Banks
Costume Design – Kate Jacobsen
Sound Design – Zachary Baker – Salmon
Technical Director – Justin Snyder*
Production Manager – Lauren Yarbrough
Stage Manager – Stacey Klingberg
Production Assistant – Sarah Zumba

Artistic Director – Max Truax*
Managing Director – Jeremy Clark*
Executive Director – Brad Jayhan-Little*
Executive Producer – Ben Fuchsen*

*denotes Oracle Company Member

Graphics by Evelyn DeHais

Graphics by Evelyn DeHais


WORKSHOP PRODUCTION: Chicago Fringe 2014

Performed at Chicago Fringe Festival 2014 – Deep Dish Stage, 5320 W. Giddings, Chicago
August 28 through September 7, 2014

Video clips from our 2014 workshop:

In our original workshop production, the cast and crew were the same except for the following roles:
Jason Clements played Mr. Barry Augenbraun
Skye Geerts was Costume Designer
Cait Chiou was co-Production Designer

Here is the original promotional art designed by Evelyn DeHais,

ThisHouse card web