BWW Previews: PIPELINE IS A MOTHER'S DETERMINATION TO KEEP TROUBLED SON FROM BECOMING A STATISTIC at American Stage
This is a play unlike any other at American Stage.
"You should expect to be engaged, indicted by the text, by the story, by the message," he said. "The audience should very much expect to be part of the production, to listen, and a part of the solution to the questions asked in this play. Be prepared to be enlightened figuratively and realistically because lights will be shone at the audience."
Written by Dominique Morisseau ((co-producer on the Showtime series SHAMELESS), one of the most talked-about modern playwrights named a MacArthur Foundation 'Genius Grant' recipient, PIPELINE looks at what a single mother, a teacher will do to keep her troubled 17-year-old son from becoming a statistic because he was labeled very early in his life to be part of the school to prison pipeline.
"Most young brown-skinned children in America are targeted from third, fourth, fifth grade. All it takes is a teacher, administrator or counselor saying 'you're no good. You're bad. You're not teachable. We don't need you. We don't want you.' And that child inevitably finds another outlet to be loved, to be attended to, to be part of. That outlet is usually gangs or some other criminal activity."
Once that child is dismissed and the teacher and/or parent gives up on him, he predictably can become a part of the school to prison pipeline.
L. Peter explained, "In PIPELINE, the mother is determined to keep her son from that destiny. She's reaching her hand out to her son saying 'how can I help you? Let me help you. Where is this rage coming from?' She discovers a great deal about her son throughout the movement of the piece."
He said that this may be Dominique's most important work.
"It is a piece like any other that I've seen and I've been in the business a very long time. It is an opus to motherhood, to us sitting in the dark slightly illuminated by this director," he said. "It is an opus to all the teachers, administrators, politicians, the girlfriends, the uncles, the aunts, the estranged fathers - it's an opus to all of us to listen and know how to talk to our youth, and understand what they may be going through so we don't throw them away so quickly, so we don't discard them. We need to say 'talk to me, let me know what you're going through. I care about you.' Sometimes, that's all a child needs to hear and that's what this play tries to engage our audience to think about."
PIPELINE is at American Stage in the Raymond James Theatre, 163 3rd St N, St. Petersburg. The production run Jan. 25 through Feb. 24. Performances will be Wednesdays and Thursdays, 7 p.m.; and Fridays and Saturdays, 8 p.m. Matinees will be Saturdays and Sundays, 2 p.m. Ticket prices start at $44 and vary by performance time. Call the box office at 727-823-7529 or visit americanstage.org. "Pipeline" contains mature content and strong language. The age recommendation for this production is 14 and older.