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

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

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

Readings/Workshops

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

Press

"A work of uncommon depth, nuance, and emotional impact."--Richard Dodds, The Bay Area Reporter
Full Review: http://www.ebar.com/arts/art_article.php?sec=theatre&article=1392

"A superb script... I can't remember another play where, after the first three lines, I was convinced that I was in for one hell of a ride..." --George Heymont, Huffington Post
Full Review: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/interracial-love-trumps-hate_us_59d862ade4b0cf2548b33753

"Riveting, moving... a well-polished, well-executed piece of compelling theatre...  while so many new works never get reproduced past the premiere, This Bitter Earth is a story of our time that deserves and needs to be seen by audiences across the country. Rating: 4.5/5 Eddys"--Theatre Eddys
Full Review: http://theatreeddys.blogspot.com/

"At last a play that treats gay lovers like other lovers, exposing their virtues and faults... for a long time, I have been waiting for a play that unifies personal desires and political action—well, here it is... “This Bitter Earth” makes us think about others, and imbues us with a new drive to make change."--Barry David Horwitz, Theatrius
Full Review: http://theatrius.com/2017/10/09/this-bitter-earth-celebrates-gay-black-lives-at-nctc-s-f/

"Touches upon many hot button issues... with a depth and sensitivity... At a time in our history when Americans are so divided, its important that works like This Bitter Earth are written and seen. In talking about the things which divide us, we just might heal the wounds and come together."--David Elijah Nahmod, brokeassstuart.com
Full Review: http://brokeassstuart.com/sf/2017/10/04/this-bitter-earth-new-play-grapples-with-love-race-black-lives-matter/