As one of Chicago’s world-renowned cultural institutions, the Goodman Theatre is committed to the development of a more just and equitable Chicago. Key to this commitment has been the growth of the Goodman’s Educational and Engagement outreach programs. These programs seek to use the art and tools of theater to develop generational learning and understanding of the city’s diverse cultures and voices.
This past December, as part of its outreach programs, the Goodman offered the digital premiere of seven 10-minute plays of #ENOUGH: Plays to End Gun Violence, a nationwide middle school and high school short play competition focused on the issue of gun violence. Inspired by the unfortunate events of the 2019 Parkland, Florida high school mass shooting, Michael Cotey created the #ENOUGH program in 2020 to foster critical debate and action around the issue of gun violence – the vehicle? New theater works written by American teens. Partnering with local gun safety organizations and other nonprofits across the nation, Cotey conceived the #ENOUGH program as a means of providing young writers a unique platform to showcase their writing while inspiring youth-focused community discussion around the issue of gun violence in America.
One of the seven winning plays included in the upcoming program is Ghost Run by Olivia Ridley, a New Jersey high school senior and writer whose play was selected from nearly 200 submissions across 23 states and three countries. Ghost Run, along with the six additional plays slated for #ENOUGH, premiered at the Goodman this past December on the occasion of the eighth anniversary of the Sandy Hook tragedy. Just prior to the premier, Pulitzer Prize Nominee, Dael Orlandersmith, and Tony Award Winner playwright David Henry Hwang participated in a live online discussion around gun violence, art and social activism.
Directed by Goodman associate producer Ken-Matt Martin, Ridley’s Ghost Run centers around the character of BLACK BOY, played by Chicago based actor Jayson Lee. Desperate and driven to be heard and witnessed, Lee delivers BLACK BOY’s ‘villain’s monologue’ to an audience literally held at gunpoint. For playwright Ridley, “to be brought to the forefront of this nationwide dialogue in this way is, for me, a wonderful opportunity and an incredible honor. It’s all still a little surreal and I can’t express my gratitude enough.” Ridley hopes that Ghost Run will advance the conversation around this critical national issue. Associate producer Martin acknowledged Ridley’s contribution noting, “it has been a joy to collaborate with Oliva, a distinctive emerging voice and singular talent, whose work will make an indelible impact.”
The six other winning plays and producing theater partners of the program included Ms. Martin’s Malaise by Adelaide Fisher (Orlando Repertory Theatre), Guns in Dragonland by Eislinn Gracen (Orlando Repertory Theatre), Togetha by Azya Lyons (Alliance Theatre), Malcolm by Debkanya Mitra (Arizona Theatre Company), Hullabaloo by Sarah Schecter (Berkeley Repertory Theatre), and Loaded Language by Elizabeth Shannon (South Coast Repertory)
Visit BroadwayOnDemand.com to view all seven digital premieres of #ENOUGH: Plays to End Gun Violence. For additional information on the various community outreach programs at the Goodman, visit goodmantheatre.org/Engage-Learn.