Heal the Divide: Swing Low, by Taijee Bunch

Blog, Heal The Divide, Plays

Every week we will be sharing new plays by our Heal the Divide playwrights.  This week’s play is a monologue titled Swing Low, by Southern Arkansas University student Taijee Bunch, a playwright from Lonoke, AR.

I wrote this piece because I wanted to continue on with the trend of breaking the barriers of stereotypes in my community. A huge one that included myself, was that there aren’t many positive male figures in the stereotyped black home. I feel that this was a sensitive area for me and the men in my community. I actually didn’t have a strong relationship with my dad until I was much older and I grew to understand and appreciate him, however a lot of families aren’t that lucky. I hope that this piece will inspire black men to see that there definitely needs to be a change in the way we see ourselves and how others see us.

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Killing Healthcare and Killing Humans: My Obituary

My Obituary

Artwork by Matt Bors

This summer, when the Affordable Health Care was under attack from a vicious, callous, greedy GOP,  we invited writers to pen their own obituaries in protest.  We didn’t get a lot of entries – maybe because PPP was just getting started, maybe because the GOP’s pernicious bills kept getting (narrowly) defeated and people felt like we had this whole thing in the bag… and yet, here we are again.

So we’re going to post the entries we DID receive.  And if you want to add an obit of your own, we’ll post that too.  Just follow THIS LINK to send it our way.

And in the meantime, let’s make sure the latest effort to strip healthcare from millions and line the pockets of Insurers at the cost of real live human beings, is another festering failure.  Because state representatives should be working to FIX our healthcare system, not turn it into an elite privilege!

Here lie the partial cremains of the New Deal, picked at, shredded, then pulverized into ash. The final rites ironically pronounced by Richard Nixon. Its fate augured by a decades-long, slow motion car wreck. So, dearly beloved, we stand with only a shred of protection against the death dealers. Katrina and DAPL. Mortgage meltdowns and pretty corruptions. Everywhere violence and endless spin. Let us lean away from the everlasting arms of credit and positive thinking and fortify ourselves with celebrity. We face a world that is reordering itself. It is neither brave, nor new. Complete recovery might no longer be possible. But we must fight for what remains, candles to darkness.

~Mildred Lewis

Ms Burbano was a writer, an actor and a general pain in the neck. She arrived from Colombia to Cleveland as a little girl, and resented it. Mostly because, well, Cleveland. (If a river is on fire, is there anyone to put it out?) Burbano, in the way of many overprivileged immigrant children, was an A-1 slacker, barely graduating from the overpriced catholic HS her parents put her in in the hopes of curbing her voracious sexual appetite. No, she didn’t go to college.

Thanks to years of therapy and medical marijuana, Burbano became a useful member of society. Thanks to the NEA she found some fame through her filthy, provocative writing.

Regrettably, or not if you happen to be one of her writing students, Burbano was diagnosed with breast and ovarian cancer. She had been a faithful client of Planned Parenthood since an unfortunate incident in Sophomore year. Due, however, to the cuts in funding for medical programs during the blessedly short lived Trump administration, or as historians prefer: The White Trash Rebellion of 2016, Burbano was unable to get even the most basic of medical check ups, and the cancer raged through her body at a speed both startling and decisive.

She lived long enough to see Trump taken away in an orange jumpsuit that matched the shade of his skin, and died with the words, “That tangerine bastard deserved what he got.”

In lieu of flowers, please send donations to her favorite organization, Send Trump Followers to the Underworld, or STFU.

~Diana Burbano

Here lies a woman whose blood pressure couldn’t handle the insidious, fallacious, GOP. A woman whose “pre-existing condition” of common-sense-ness was done in by the sheer idiocy of Trump and all the self-serving elite Republicans using Trump’s Tweet Shield as a diversion to neuter the American spirit under cover of a media too spun out to provide focus. A woman who wants just a few moments of United sanity with which to recover some of her own sanity. A woman who dreams big, but sees only smallness on the horizon with the GOP tightening the noose on millions of working class poor for their own grotesque gain. F*** Trumpcare, and the bullshit-fed, blinded, and abused elephant it rode in on.


Karuna Das, who, despite having a foreign name (Sanskrit for “servant of compassion”), was not an immigrant but rather a red-blooded native American –but not an actual Native American (red-blooded, not red-skinned) or even an actual lndian (the ones who invented that yoga stuff) — died today of a ruptured aneurysm of the aortic root, brought on by high blood pressure due to anxiety over the state of the nation. Simply put, the deceased’s expansive heart was too hard-working for the body politic encompassing it. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to anyone recommended by Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren.

~Karuna Das


Heal the Divide: The Weather Today, by David Hilder

Heal The Divide, Plays

Every week we will be sharing new plays by our Heal the Divide playwrights.  This week’s play is The Weather Today, by David Hilder, a playwright from NYC, NY. 

In this piece — which, yes, I wrote while in London (today) — I wanted to step back from everything and look at conversation, that lost art I so often miss in political discourse. I started out thinking about the weather and ended up with some sort of neo-Socratic dialogue, which wasn’t my aim, but that’s the great thing about writing: Being surprised.

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Heal the Divide: The Reality, by Mikki Russ

Heal The Divide, Plays

Every week we will be sharing new plays by our Heal the Divide playwrights.  This week’s play is The Reality, by Mikki Russ, a playwright from Prescott, AZ. 

Joe Arpaio has been a fixture in my life for many years, since I have been a long time resident of Arizona. I grew up in the state. I can’t recall a time he wasn’t Sherriff of Maricopa County. I agonized over this man in many ways over the years as he pinged from headline to headline like some bionic tiddlywink game piece alight with self-importance and profound malice. I was sitting at the kitchen table having coffee when I heard that Trump was getting ready to pardon Arpaio for his slap-on-the-wrist conviction (hard won though, as I am sure it was). I remember laughing aloud. I was sure the comment was in jest. I waited for the part of the statement that would confirm that a joke was unfolding a la’ SNL.  Nope.  And here we are.

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Heal the Divide: Rally, by Diana Burbano

Blog, Heal The Divide, Plays

Every week we will be sharing new plays by our Heal the Divide playwrights.  This week’s play is Rally, by Long Beach playwright Diana Burbano .

The tragedy in Charlottesville served to open a scar in America. The white supremacist movement has come out of their hidden corners and darkened basements, helped along by their leader in Washington. This in and of itself is frightening, but I hold out hope. There is also a strong and vocal resistance movement who have put their bodies on the line to defy those who would take this country into the dark ages. There has been loss, and likely will be more, but their defiance will serve as a beacon for others to come and stand against the darkness.

We MUST continue to be decent, and outspoken, and to protect each other, in spite of the evil that is trying to overwhelm our compassion.

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Heal the Divide: Dolphins, by Jen Huszcza

Blog, Heal The Divide, Plays

Every week we will be sharing new plays by our Heal the Divide playwrights.  This week’s play is Dolphins, by Los Angeles playwright Jen Huszcza.

I sail and race sailboats out of Marina del Rey. Sometimes, when we’re a mile out, I look back at the coast and think ten million people live there, but I don’t see them. However, all those humans cannot be denied.

One weekend after Valentine’s Day, I was out casually sailing with friends, and picked up a dozen mylar balloons floating on the water. Also, the amount of plastic pollution in the ocean has reached a staggering number. It’s not only plastic bags, but fish eat micro plastics. Guess who eats the fish?

For more info on the effects of ocean pollution, check out Heal the Bay , Reef Check, and 5 Gyres Institute.

I knew I wanted to do a play about ocean life for Heal the Divide, and I wanted to write about Dolphins. I often see dolphins when I sail. They make me happy. In creating my pod of dolphins, I wrote a ten minute play which requires thirteen actors. Such a large cast is a no-no in short play writing. I realize this kills any shot at a production, but a community of dolphins is inspiring not only in its joy, but also in its numbers.

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Heal the Divide: Between Love and Hate, by Taijee Bunch

Heal The Divide, Plays

Every week we will be sharing new plays by our Heal the Divide playwrights.  This week’s play is Between Love and Hate, by Southern Arkansas University student Taijee Bunch, a playwright from Lonoke, AR.

“I was inspired to write this piece from observing a problem that effected my childhood neighborhood that I grew up in. We faced a lot of problems with healthcare, domestic violence, and drug use. I focused on this because there are too many voices assuming what the black community goes through and shunning us when we speak out about it. I want this play to show that these are real things that the black community goes through and also to send a message to the black community that we must do better and work two times harder in this world.”

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Heal the Divide On Campus: An Opportunity for Inter-Collegiate Conversation Through Theatre

Blog, Heal The Divide

Protest Plays Project has initiated an online playwright residency to encourage theatrical conversation between communities.  This project is in its infancy, with our first round playwrights currently writing material as we invite theatres/theatre groups in each playwright’s community to consider presenting selected readings of short plays written for the project.  Our hope is that by introducing short, brand new plays inspired by each playwright’s community, we can cultivate empathy and engage in inter-community conversations about social issues currently at play in our nation.

Let’s to do something similar on campuses across the country!

Heal the Divide On Campus: An Opportunity for Inter-Collegiate Conversation Through Theatre
Interested faculty will invite their theatre students to write short plays or monologues (10 minutes or less) about issues concerning their community.  This can be issues pertaining specifically to each playwright’s city, or a national/global issue seen through each playwright’s community/city lens (as it pertains to/manifests in their city).  The key is to get local with the material, and to share insight into each community’s current issues of concern.  Faculty coordinating this effort would then select the strongest pieces to upload to a shared drive that each participating campus will have access to.  In the Spring, we will then select pieces from this shared drive of new plays for a reading series on our own campuses!

Fall 2017- Part I: Brainstorming and Writing Period!

  • Faculty encourage students to write a short play or monologue for this project.
  • These pieces can be work-shopped and read on campus if it works for your institution.  The public can be invited to see what local issues students are concerned about/asking questions about = opportunities for community and civic outreach, and an invitation to cultivate creative (and hopefully constructive) conversation within your community.

Spring 2018 – Part II: Theatrical Conversations

  • Faculty and Students are able to read over shared scripts, selecting a bill (or multiple bills depending on how many readings you want to present) of material from other college campuses.
    • You may also want to include pieces written by your own students in your bill
  • Each Reading Series is presented with the hopes that it will create conversation around the issues explored, providing opportunities for connection and continued community exploration.
  • Cultivating a conversation between theatre students, campus, community creates potential for:
    • Cross collaboration between local non-profits working on social issues
    • Civic engagement with city councils/community groups
    • Increased learning outcomes within student populations
    • Increased opportunity for interdisciplinary partnerships
  • Participating faculty and students can then share their experiences with other participating campuses as an opportunity to continue the inter-collegiate conversation
Are you interested in participating or have questions?
Email Tiffany at [email protected]

View/download our
Heal the Divide on CampusResource and Idea Guide HERE.

Are you a student playwright with questions about formatting?
Download the Dramatists Guild formatting guide for help.



Heal the Divide: Some Meanings of Love, by David Hilder

Blog, Heal The Divide, Plays

Every week we will be sharing new plays by our Heal the Divide playwrights.  This week’s play is Some Meanings of Love, by David Hilder, a playwright from NYC, NY. 

“It’s an interesting time to be in New York. We have a POTUS who’s a New Yorker, we have a recently hired (and even more recently fired) White House Communications Director who’s a New Yorker…it’s not exactly a great time to take any pride in being a New Yorker. (I hasten to add I’m only one by adoption, though at the almost 22 year mark, I feel comfortable here to say the least.) So that’s been on my mind. The other thing I’ve been thinking about, a lot, is how to think of people I can’t stand politically as actual human beings, seeking to find pleasure and avoid pain and get through the day like everyone else. Those two thought trains collided, and perhaps crashed and burned, in this play.”

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Heal the Divide: Toy Trains, by Mikki Russ

Blog, Heal The Divide, Plays

Every week we will be sharing new plays by our Heal the Divide playwrights.  This week’s play is Toy Trains, by Mikki Russ, a playwright from Prescott, AZ. 

“Prescott has a thriving retirement community, as well as several nursing home facilities. One of the things I have been privy to is how the family dynamic plays out in the golden years. Some folks get pulled in to the group hug of their nuclear family and that cradles them unto death. Other people seem to be perched just outside of warmth and their loneliness is heartbreaking to observe. I wrote Toy Trains because Mona’s story is one I have seen unfold in a variety of ways while I have lived here. While Sunny Springs is not the name of an actual care home facility, we have many in Prescott, due to our vast retirement community. I don’t know what it is about our culture in particular that our elderly can get so marginalized from their families. True, there are people who show up in our lives and care for us quite intimately, and I think therein lies the hope. If we can all recognize our interdependence, maybe we have room to grow.”

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