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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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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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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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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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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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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Protest Plays Project has initiated an online playwright residency to encourage theatrical conversation between communities. This project is in its 2nd year. Our hope is that by introducing short, brand new plays inspired by each student 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 students to write short plays or monologues (10 minutes or less) about issues of concern in their community right now. Issues can be specific 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 write from a local perspective, 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 2018- 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 2019 – 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]
Heal the Divide on Campus Resource and Idea Guide HERE.
Are you a student playwright with questions about formatting?
Download the Dramatists Guild formatting guide for help.
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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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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Every week we will be sharing new plays by our Heal the Divide playwrights. This week’s play is The Pen, by Long Beach playwright Diana Burbano.
This piece was inspired by conversations and news articles that have been circulating in the immigrant community where I teach.
It’s also a little bit of a conversation with Robert Schenkkan’s play “Building the Wall”.
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