JESSE
"In the dream I was at a party
In a penthouse somewhere
And everyone was black.
From the darkest night to caramel to white chocolate
Every shade and hue.
Size and shape
The variety!
The hair!
And EVERYONE was in costume!
Lorraine was dressed as Josephine Baker.
Ralph Ellison as Alex Haley.
Even Langston
Beautiful, elusive ephemeral Langston was present and accounted for and dressed as
Gregory Hines!
Queen Latifah was there dressed as you know who
And Jimmy
Dear Jimmy Baldwin
Who I've always had a little crush on, but could never seem to work up the nerve to ask out for
coffee, was there
Holding court in the entryway
Althea Gibson was there
And Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee
Alvin Ailey was two-stepping with Maya Angelou
Louie and Marian were trading scats
Basquiat and Romare were talking technique
And Zora was taking drink orders!
Everyone was living!
Everyone was fabulous!"

THIS BITTER EARTH
2M

Neil is a passionate white activist and advocate for the Black Lives Matter movement. Jesse is an introspective black playwright coming to terms with his own activism, or the lack thereof. As racial tensions mount with the extrajudicial killings of black men throughout the country, the young gay couple is forced to contend with the politics of their love in these turbulent times. Wrestling with issues of race and class, this poetic and timely story, written by Harrison David Rivers, is a haunting reminder of the strength it takes to love out loud.

Productions

World Premiere, New Conservatory Theatre Center, San Francisco, 2017: dir. Ed Decker

Penumbra Theatre, St. Paul, 2018: dir. Talvin Wicks

Readings/Workshops

Reading, The Playwrights' Center, Minneapolis, 2016: dir. Ed Decker