Imagine growing up thinking you are white, only to be shocked to learn later in life that your biological father is actually black. That was the case for Michael Sidney Fosberg, who has turned his real-life story into a riveting solo theater performance coming to Nicolet College at 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 25.
With humor and heartfelt emotion, Incognito tells the story of how Fosberg grew up in a working-class neighborhood of Chicago believing he was white. In his early 30s, his mother and step-father began divorce proceedings, and that triggered an urgency in the young man to find his biological father.
“In a miraculous first phone call to John Sidney Woods,” Fosberg recounted, “my father says, ‘There are some things I’m sure your mother never told you.’ He told me then that not only has he always loved me and thought about me, but also, that he is black.” Fosberg also learned about a large extended family he never knew he had in Virginia.
Delving into issues of race, diversity, family history, divorce, adoption, and the search for a father, Incognito has been praised by educators, critics and appreciative audiences around the nation for illuminating a path to self-discovery that speaks to anyone who has searched their own past for personal meaning.
“We booked Incognito as a daytime performance for Nicolet students,” said Theatre Director Jim Nuttall, “and then decided to add an evening show for the general public. Michael Sidney Fosberg is such a powerful performer, and he deals with quintessential themes that resonate with all Americans.”
Fosberg has been performing his story for more than a decade, and has published an autobiographical novel.
“People often ask if I’ve grown tired of sharing my story with the American public,” he said, “and I answer, absolutely not. People of all ages and backgrounds consistently reach out to me to share their own personal struggles with identity and race. I’m inspired by the very public and personal discussions the show evokes.”
Tickets are $10 and can be purchased in advance online by visitingnicoletlive.com, or calling the box office at (715) 365-4646 or (800) 544-3039, ext. 4646.