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Jeremy O. Harris Talks SLAVE PLAY, Race and Sexuality in American Theatre

The talk also featured cast members Chalia La Tour and Ato Blankson-Wood, and Playwright C.A. Johnson.

Jeremy O. Harris Talks SLAVE PLAY, Race and Sexuality in American Theatre

Last week, Jeremy O. Harris joined Tony-nominated cast members of Slave Play, Chalia La Tour and Ato Blankson-Wood, in a talk hosted by the Human Rights Campaign for a celebration of the play and a conversation centered on race and sexuality in the American theater. Playwright C.A. Johnson also joined the conversation, which was moderated by HRC chairwoman Jodie Patterson and hosted by HRC president Alphonso David.

Harris talked about why he does theater and what it means to him, Variety reports.

"I do theater because theater is the first political form," he said. "In the commodification of the industry, we've forgotten that. In the 'Wicked' and 'Rent' of it all, we forgot that theater is supposed to affect the catharsis to make people do something differently in their lived lives and real communities."

He also discussed what it's like being a Black, queer person on Broadway, and members of those communities need their stories to be told.

"There are so many collective nightmares that we as Black people, we as queer people, women in the room, have had to deal with, and only five of us have told the story," said Harris. "Literally, there are only two other Black men who are alive right now who have written plays that have gone to Broadway in the last 40 years: Tarell McCraney, and George C. Wolfe."

Because of this, Harris, the producers of "Slave Play" and the Human Rights Campaign launched the Golden Collection. As BroadwayWorld previously reported, this archive of 15 essential Black plays will be donated to public libraries and community centers in all 50 states and territories.

"I started having conversations about what to do with this chunk of money that people usually stow away for awards campaigns, and it started to feel really icky that I had resources from a play about systematic racism that weren't going anywhere near the people who needed them most," Harris explained.

Read more on Variety.

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