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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CALL FOR PLAYS
Protest Plays Project and Little Black Dress INK invite college/university students to write short plays or monologues (1-10 minutes in length) inspired by the communities in which they live. Plays might explore 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—we want to see what is happening where you live!
Selected plays will be read on a special ONSTAGE: ON-AIR podcast in Fall 2020, and made available to colleges wishing to participate in a creative story exchange by presenting readings on their campus. Past participating campuses include Iowa State University, University of Texas at Arlington, Columbus State University, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and Wake Forest University.
- To increase opportunities for constructive dialogue around/about issues facing us today through theatrical conversation.
- To offer students the opportunity to give voice to issues facing them/their communities.
- To create a forum in which those ideas are not only shared with the community being written about, but with audiences living in other geographies/communities as well.
- To foster connectivity and increased empathy between communities
- To engage in inter-collegiate conversation with one another about the processes and outcomes of the Heal the Divide on Campus project in order to support further growth/ development of this and other initiatives like it.
Plays will be accepted through May 10, 2020. Faculty and guest artists will read plays over the summer, with selected playwrights notified by Aug 10, 2020.
*While Protest Plays Project also engages in political theatre, our HEAL THE DIVIDE project is non-partisan. Your play does not have to be political in nature to qualify for this project—it just needs to live in the city/community you call home. Selected plays will offer a diverse array of perspectives from a wide range of communities—not only geographically but socio-politically as well. All voices are welcome, and encouraged!*
Here are a few plays that do this well:
The Heal the Divide project was inspired by Howl Round’s Here and Now Series
, for which I wrote three plays about AZ (where I was living at the time). Check out HAT TRICK
and FOLLOWING THE RULES
(which both take place in Prescott, AZ) as some additional examples of writing for/about the community in which you live.
Playwrights can upload their work HERE
Do you have additional 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”.
Download (PDF, 12KB)