The phrase was repeated to James Ijames many times while he was an undergrad: “You look so much like James Baldwin. You should play him!”

So, in 2001, Ijames created a 15-minute one-man-play, with a simple premise: We see James Baldwin getting dressed for Martin Luther King’s funeral. Little did Ijames know, the vignette would be just the tip of an eight-year development process, culminating this weekend with the premiere of “The Threshing Floor.”

Produced by Mauckingbird Theatre Company, “Threshing” is now a 73-minute play in which Ijames plays 14 different characters.

 

“It’s like Roland Barthes said: ‘Books don’t belong to authors, they belong to the reader,’” says Ijames, who received his MFA in acting from Temple in 2006. “Each time I read Baldwin — whatever stage of life I’m in — it always says something different to me.”

‘The Threshing Floor’
Friday through Jan. 31
Mauckingbird Theatre Co.
Adrienne Theatre
2030 Sansom St.
$15-$20, 215-923-8909
www.mauckingbirdtheatreco.org