The Colony Theatre Company
Barbara Beckley, Artistic Director

The Best of Enemies

by Mark St. Germain

Based on The Best of Enemies by Osha Gray Davidson

The Best of Enemies
Larry Cedar, Tiffany Rebecca Royale

Scenic Designer
Costume Design
Lighting Design
Sound & Projection Design
Properties Design & Set Dressing
Scenic Art
Wigs & Hair
Production Stage Manager
Casting Director
Public Relations
Technical Director
Set Construction
Master Electrician
Production Crew

Light Board Operator
Sound Operator
Stage Crew
Key Art
Production Photography

David Rose
David Potts
Dianne K. Graebner
Jared A. Sayeg
Dave Mickey
John McElveney
Orlando de la Paz
Rhonda O'Neal
Lisa Freed
Patricia Cullen
David Elzer/Demand PR
Robert T. Kyle
Red Colegrove, Le Sanne Bernandez/Grove Scenery
Watson Bradshaw
Art Brickman, Krista Lu, Jorge Garcia
Angella Gasparian, Rene Parras Jr.
Kathryn Horan
Mark Williams
Brittany Marmo, Rene Parras, Jr.
Orlando de la Paz
Michael Lamont

CAST (in order of appearance)

C.P. Ellis
Ann Atwater
Bill Riddick
Mary Ellis

Voices/choir/crowd sounds

Voice Overs

Larry Cedar
Tiffany Rebecca Royale
Shon Fuller
Holly Hawkins

Ben Hawkins, John Favreau, Taylor M. Hartsfield,
Elyssa Alexander, Madeline Ellingson, Mathew G. Wicks,
Dylan David Farrs, Katie Lee, Connie J. Kim
Jesus Manuel R., Lacey Beegun, Joshua Johnson

Wyn Moreno, Sarah Ripper




Durhan, North Carolina

The play is performed without intermission
Running time: Approximately 90 minutes


Ann Atwater and C.P. EllisI got the idea of doing BEST OF ENEMIES when I was looking at lists of American Heroes. Most had the usual suspects, from George Washington to Martin Luther King, the Wright Brothers up to the Astronauts.

One list contained two names I had never heard of: Ann Atwater and C.P. Ellis. I researched them immediately and discovered a story with two great Heroes, that, if it didn't exist, someone should have invented.

I read Osha Davidson's book, THE BEST OF ENEMIES, which tells their story against the social and economic condition of Durham at the time. I was thrilled to learn that Ann Atwater was, and is, still alive, as is Bill Riddick. C.P. has passed, but his daughter, Vicki, has given much of her time helping me fill in the more personal issues in his life.

Flying down to Durham, I sat down to lunch with Ann and Bill. It turned out that they hadn't really seen each other but once, briefly, since the Charette they organized exploded Durham socially and nationally. The scene in the play where Bill regrets that he should have known that Ann and C.P. were having hard times was adapted from that lunch.

The play made a difference in Ann Atwater's life in several ways. Firstly, she, Bill, and Vicki participate in any royalties it generates. More importantly, it led to the first "Ann Atwater Day" in Durham – the first time she had been recognized for her activism that spurred changes for the better in both black and white communities.

BEST OF ENEMIES is dedicated to Ann, Bill, C.P., and two great supporters of the Arts and Barrington Stage Company who made it possible: Sydelle and Lee Blatt.

– Mark St. Germain

Defining "Charrette"

Bill RiddickCharrette is a French word meaning ‘little cart.’ The use of the word charrette to describe a design process stems from the 19th century, when French art and architecture students busied themselves to finish their final projects. As the deadline came, charrettes (little carts) would be circulated through the hallways, and as they passed the rooms where the students were working, the students would toss their projects into the charrette to be taken to be reviewed. The word is now used, even when the carts are not, to describe an intensive design process.

A young Bill Riddick first heard about a charrette as an “intense, short-term problem solving tool” used by engineers when designing the construction of bridges and other large-scale projects that impacted a community. The engineers would stay in a room, listening to the opinions of their colleagues and the voices of community members. All questions and issues had to be addressed before they left the room with the final plan. “I saw it as a fascinating tool to solve community problems,” he said.

“The charrette brings the whole community together. The process starts with a steering committee and, hopefully, that steering committee is a microcosm of the community. This sent me looking for people who had status but didn’t have the approval of the, quote, people in charge,” Riddick said.

As a strategy to solve the problems associated with the desegregation of public schools, Riddick convinced Ann Atwater and C.P. Ellis to take the roles of co-chairs of Durham’s Save Our Schools (S.O.S.) charrette in July, 1971. 


C. P. Ellis described his initiation into the Ku Klux Klan as "one of the most exciting and thrilling moments of my life... I was absolutely in tears, I was so happy." He rose to the position of Exalted Cyclops of the Klan in Durham, North Carolina. During his tenure he was responsible for some of the most repugnantly racist rhetoric of the era - a snippet of it opens our play.

Ann Atwater was a combative Black civil rights activist, as militant in her beliefs as C. P. was in his. "I’m not afraid of anybody. But when I see a snake I don’t talk to it, I cut its head off…The problem’s White racism and it always will be!"

They were brought together by a social worker who was sent by the federal government, and at first it appeared his challenge would be to keep them from killing each other. But then, slowly, without either being fully aware of what was happening, they began to understand each other – their fears, their disappointments, their hopes and dreams for their children – what they cared about and what they were really fighting for.
Against all odds, they became friends.

They looked after each other for the remainder of C.P.’s life, and Ann gave the eulogy at his funeral.

It seems like a miracle, and if it were fiction no one would believe it. But these were two very real people, and it actually happened.

When I watch the news these days I think about Ann and C.P. And they give me hope

--Barbara Beckley


Brad Brown  Monserrat Diaz   Even Greenspan, Greenspan's of Southgate
Michael Jones   Dr. Wayne Liebman   Paul Manganiello   Wadler Data Systems

"Exciting doesn't state strongly enough how profound and entertaining this play is....This is an intense and valuable play that should be seen by all folk who care about an American society based on equality and respect. Go see it!"  -- Edge Media Network

"One of the most important historical plays about America to ever reach the stage.” – The New York Times