Post-Covid Theater’s Vaccine

ATTN EVERY AMERICAN THEATER: when coughs are no longer weapons and the feeling of your shoulder against a stranger’s coat isn’t terrifying, and you open your doors again, PLEASE LET IT BECAUSE YOU ARE PRESENTING THIS BRILLIANT PLAY. Last month, I did a panel with the playwright, Aleshea Harris, on how playwrights are dealing with Covid and the cancelling of, well, our Everything. I was immediately intrigued by this play and ordered it. The play is part ritual, part series of raw and hilarious and arresting vignettes, part concert, part poetry, part funeral for Whoever’s most recently been Killed, all parts the best of Theater. It serves as a healing exercise for a Black audience, and it also invites White audience members to engage and participate. It is so brutally of the moment, you’d think that Aleshea wrote it yesterday. But of course it’s not a new play, she first presented it in 2015. Black artists have been shouting about the treatment of Black people in this country for years and years. I’m ashamed to just now be fully listening with all of my ears, and even through my nose a little bit. I want to buy one million copies of this play and mail one to every theater. Or perhaps drop copies from planes. Or leave them in mailboxes. Or bake them into cakes and leave the cakes on front steps. Whatever it takes. If you want to read this play but can’t afford to purchase it — COMMENT, and I’ll mail you a copy. Or fly over your house with a hang glider and just sort of drop it down. Whatever is both MOST dramatic, and ensures that this play makes it into your hands.

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