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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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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Every week we will be sharing new plays by our Heal the Divide playwrights. This week’s play is Fireworks, by Los Angeles playwright Jen Huszcza.
A few weeks ago, I became obsessed with Presidential Impeachment (as one does in this day and age). I wanted to know how it worked, what it was, the history of it. I soon learned that Alexander Hamilton wrote the Federalist Paper on Impeachment, and I wondered if I could put Hamilton onstage. He’s currently the star of the biggest mega hit musical of this century, and he’s a founding father. It’s a little intimidating, so naturally I had to do it.
Then, a week later, I saw Samantha Bee interview Senator Elizabeth Warren on youtube. Samantha Bee jokingly talked about sitting on a ledge over the death of democracy and calling Senator Warren. I suddenly saw that ledge. Who would I put on the ledge and who would they call? What if the person they called was not available or not taking calls?
I don’t know where Barack Obama came from (actually, I do, he was born in Hawaii). I’ve noticed a lot of Obama nostalgia on Facebook among my liberal friends, and I think Monica would call him. Please do not take this as a literal or biographical Obama. While he did say that America was already great at the Democratic convention, I do not have his intelligence. His lines are written by a humble playwright and should not be taken as the former president’s actual words.
Besides, I would totally do pints with Alexander Hamilton.
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Every week we will be sharing new plays by our Heal the Divide playwrights. This week’s play is Four Poems, by Southern Arkansas University student Taijee Bunch, a playwright from Lonoke, AR.
I was inspired to write this play at an ASTEP (Artist Striving To End Poverty) open mic night. I wanted to re-create that moment. I also wanted to address the concern that we don’t listen to each other enough to understand that we all go through similar problems. We all just need a timeout. A time to listen and focus back in with each other and most importantly heal. Four Poems follows four artists whose names represent their problem/solution of their individual lives: Oppression, Fear, Boundaries, and Healing to bring us back into reality that we can create change together not against one another. I hope you enjoy!
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Every week we will be sharing new plays by our Heal the Divide playwrights. This week’s play is No One Else’s Problem, by David Hilder, a playwright from NYC, NY.
I have been fascinated by what has looked like political heel-dragging on the part of Governor Andrew Cuomo regarding the decrepit New York City subway system, which is in need of a massive overhaul. (Despite what many think – including a lot of NYC residents – the MTA’s budget is controlled by the state, not by the city.) There are recent signs that the governor is paying attention to a situation reaching crisis levels for millions of his constituents, but it has felt like a whole lot of playing catch-up. So I wanted to imagine being in his shoes. For those who want extra credit, you can read more about this issue HERE and HERE. Also, I’d like to say that at the time of this writing – July 2, 2017 – I’m more than aware that this play, more than most, may have a seriously brief shelf life!
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You can read more about the Heal the Divide initiative HERE.
You can read more about all of our Heal the Divide playwrights HERE.