Scott, Johnson & Vickers, a small public relations firm, has just won a prestigious award, and enjoy an evening of celebration. However, success soon takes a misstep when Cleopatra Scott, the firm’s President, volunteers to launch a series of promotional recruitment videos for Douglass College, the local historically black local college. The videos are intended to utilize current Douglass students. Unfortunately, D’Acosta Johnson, the firm’s Intern, has included controversial language in the flyers that states the “hair requirements” that Scott, Johnson and Vickers deem necessary for the audition. The irony is made more pronounced by the fact that D’Acosta, who circulated the flyer, is currently a student at Douglass, and Cleopatra Scott is an esteemed Douglass alumni.
How does a small firm of “Spin Specialists” handle their gravely miscalculated deed? As the firm starts a process of self-examination, they discover a hornet’s nest of racial myth and madness mixed with contemporary ideology and personal beliefs. Were the hair requirements wrong to include? Is too much importance placed on “historical racial context” regarding contemporary matters? Arguments and beliefs come front and center. Ultimately, the Masters Of Spin must find a new strategy to heal their internal and external wounds.
4 friends (2 married couples) are flying home from a vacation together. At a short layover in Phoenix, it’s revealed that Miriam’s husband, Michael, performed at a stand-up comedy club without her knowledge. The other couple Rachel and Roscoe knew about the performance. Miriam feels deeply betrayed by Rachel and Roscoe.
During the course of the stopover, tensions flare as Michael’s performance exposes a deep-seeded racial bias.
Through an extended monologue, an African-American man reflects on growing up black but not angry, his life as a playwright, a short-lived exotic dancing experience, and his free-thinking liberal arts background. However, ultimately it’s his transformation from being an “individual satellite” to a married man and the loss of his son that forces him to face the challenge of continuing to write, or possibly abandoning his creative journey altogether.
“B-Side Man” is a coming-of-age performance that explores what it means to grow up with views that run against the prevailing cultural, racial, artistic and social tides, while experiencing the realization that individuality may not be the end-all, be-all it’s cracked up to be.
2 teenage sisters, NeeCee & Giselle, intend to rescue of a very popular black political prisoner—Jersey Jack Black—from prison. Jersey Jack was “wrongfully accused” of a crime 20 years ago. 20 years later he’s a celebrity prisoner, with a larger-than-life personna. Fancying themselves as teenage terrorists/slash/suicide bombers, they raise money through their website, where they pose in provocative attire, take in donations, and acquire a large cyber following.
The plot is uncovered by the FBI, yet while they treat the girls “threat” seriously—they hope to exploit their allegiance to Jersey Jack and uncover the terrorist network they think is behind the plot.
Running along parallel lines, is the history of the girls’ new family home. The sisters and their mom and dad have recently moved into a home with a “slave background.” The new house was formerly the property of Patty Cannon, a white woman who captured free black men, women and children and re-sold them to southern slave owners (true story). Their home was the center of a profitable slave-kidnapping business. The haunting evil history of Patty and her slave-catching, intrudes into the ‘contemporary’ business NeeCee & Giselle have as their revolutionary goal.
Jersey Jack Black, NeeCee, Giselle and their unwilling accomplice, Buddy, fall victim to spontaneous Zulu Fits, and no one understands why they’ve been targeted. Finally, in Jack’s cell the girl’s discover their misdirected actions produce horrible consequences. Ironically, it’s Agent Jackson from the FBI, who points out that the REAL story that needed to be told was right under their own noses.
Ultimately, the play asks why NeeCee and Giselle fell for “the sexy pick” as opposed to the legitimate, very real history that they ignored.
Three friends ShaRonda, Monifa and LaRue take a subway ride. The girls are all between the ages of 13-15 and live in an undetermined urban environment. They are borderline out of control and during the course of this ride, Monifa finds her life threatened over the appearance of a seemingly innocent picture on one of the girl’s cell phones.
It takes an emotional remembrance to finally deliver Monifa out of harm’s way. But the damage has been done, and as their ride ends they are not the same three friends who started out on the ride.
Chauncey a Wilmington, Delaware factory thug boss and adamant idolizer of ancient mythology, accuses Rico of stealing almost value-less fluorescent tubing. Questioned by Chauncey and his thug mates, Rico faces his final moment of truth, and flashbacks through his life. We see what kept him anchored to a city that never matched his yearnings for any mental, or physical adventures. Rico had visions of making it out. Never a great artist, he’s held onto an idea that’s continually fascinated him. A evolutionary question of Darwinian proportions. A question Rico re-interprets into a quasi-fantastical spiritual inquiry. As the world was first being formed, as organisms evolved and sought exploration from water to land, Rico asks, “Why did we come out of the Ocean?” Was it based on something un-scientific? Something illogical. An emotional stimulus? A yearning from above? Perhaps it was a calling from God? Rico has never coupled his idea with any decisive action. He remained an artist in name, not deed. Rico never became, as he told so many, that most magical of creatures— “special”.
As Rico moves reviews the baggage that kept him anchored in Wilmington, his final station is pieced together by mob boss Chauncey, who’s (seemingly) only interest was solving the theft of his fluorescent tubing. However, the sabotage of the one thing that made Rico unique—was conducted by Chauncey himself.
As Rico looks back, he realizes the mysteries of his last chapter are still demand a resolution. “Smiles from God” is about the loss of a life that never began. A cruel mythology that ultimately arrives full circle.
3 friends come to the basketball court for an annual hoop session. Mixed in with the actual game is their verbal gamesmenship. Jello is a struggling writer who still lives at home, enjoying his “status” as a neighborhood legend. Twin, a successful corporate warrior, with the financial numbers and big boy toys to back it up. Sky is a lifelong activist with his heart still doggedly entrenched in grassroots campaigns. The play explores ideology, cultural differences and ultimately, everyone’s sacred personal territory is laid bare. While they still love playing the game, antagonisms have taken root and erupt in heated battles that expose bigotry, jealousy, a small measure of self-hate and sensitive racial perspectives.
While there is plenty of humor and a good time is had by all, Jello, Twin and Sky experience explosions that leave each a bit emotionally devastated. There are no final ultimatums—but—by the end of the game each is clearly aware that things will never be the same.
3 teenage girlfriends take a violently memorable subway ride. One of the friends is saved by a childhood remembrance. A short one-act.
Carole, a female Astronaut, is about to make a 900 mile journey from Texas to Orlando. Her intentions are to “talk” to Susan, a Captain in the Air Force, about their mutual relationship with a male Astronaut, who is Carole’s ex-boyfriend. Carole fears Susan has stolen the object of her outer space desire. Susan, in route by plane to Orlando, informs her male partner (by computer) that Carole has broken into his e-mail and seen their love letters. She fears the worst.
Upon arriving in Orlando, Carole confronts Susan. Susan, however, quickly surmises that Carole is not mentally stable and escapes. Left alone in the airport parking lot, and with police sirens drawing near, Carole finally realizes the tragic gravity of her actions.
A black college English professor (Man) enters a bar. He has several gripes. One, he believes his contract has not been renewed. Two, that “the transsexual star” of Women’s Studies has derailed his quest for tenure. Fueled by liquid gumption and at the end of his intellectual rope he begins to rant (the Bartender being his only audience). His pointed targets are the “loony libs” and the politically correct agenda he continually struggles against. The more alcohol he inhales, the more his barbs find their academic bulls eyes. Though inebriated, he creates an environment that rings with a truth that borders and then crosses into the ridiculous.
Finally however, he discovers his contract was renewed.