PHOTO CREDIT: CAYENNE DOUGLASS
THE CASUALTIES OF NEED
The Casualties of Needis a story that centers on a 26-year-old biracial woman named Shane Franklin and takes place in West Virginia, 2006, under The Bush administration. When Shane receives news that her mother, Dorothy is in the hospital she makes a sudden return home to West Virginia with her boyfriend Brett. Only, once home finds out that her mother has been living with her father whom Shane has been estranged from for years. Just as Shane is coming to accept this new reality her father, Tela, is wrongly picked up on a DUI charge his file has been flagged by ICE which puts him in threat of being deported back to Trinidad. Reluctantly, Shane visits him in jail and in doing over time so finds some semblance of closure to their fragmented relationship. As the emotional hallow with Tela begins to fill, things come to light: The anger that she has towards Tela has less to do with WHO he is but WHAT he is, black. Her realization about her father’s blackness forces her to examine how she feels about the blackness in her. Shane comes to see that she has deep shame about who she is caused by internalized racism towards herself, which she had yet to consciously identify. As Shane heals she unwinds from operating from a place of fear, questioning the foundation that the relationship with Brett is built on. While Brett is a lovely human being in most ways, her partnership might have less to do with an authentic connection and more to do with what he represents: Safety and security; someone who would never leave. Believing she’s finally seeing things clear for the first time, Shane breaks up with Brett. His world, of course, is shattered. This play explores how we ‘emotionally social climb’ to become better versions of ourselves. Are relationships only good for a season; lasting as far as they help us progress in our psychological evolution? Or, are we innately selfish? Do we just use people for what we can ‘get out of them’ and move on if they no longer serve a function? What is the harm or help in seeing relationships as transactional and where does love, if at all, fit in?
Brave New World Repertory Theatre: Staged Reading, Dir. Claire Beckman
The Barn Arts Residency, Bass Harbor, ME, Dir Nikki DiLoreto
The Village Playwrights: Reading, NYC. January 2018
Semi-Finalist for the Dennis Victoria Ross Foundation Award 2018
*Available for a World Premiere