Acclaimed playwright Dui Jarrod (Lesson Before Love) has teamed up with Atlanta-based director Rhavynn Drummer, for a fresh take on a classic dilemma and epic tale of love, heartbreak and facing fears, both from the past and present. Aptly titled Unholy War, join Yves as he battles his inner demons in order to make his way down the aisle. As his wedding day fast approaches, one thing stands in his way — the one woman he’s tried so hard to forget.
Taking the stage at 7 Stages Theatre in Atlanta Nov. 3–6, 2016, Jarrod tells rolling out, the message is much more than your average love story. “I was dealing with the pain of indecision,” Jarrod said of the inspiration behind his latest play. “Being in the creative industry, I haven’t gotten exactly to where I want to get — sometimes you start thinking about your next project or your future — you get paralyzed by the past.
“I wanted to write a piece about that state of duality and look at it in a more specific sense — which is where walking down the aisle came into play. It’s a metaphor for marriage, goals, whatever you need it to be,” said Jarrod, who draws “influence” from Spike Lee and James Baldwin. “You get to see Black men vulnerable, sensitive, loving — all emotions society tells us to hide. It’s a real sincere, solid piece, that I hope provides a lot of insight.”
When it comes to partnering with Drummer, who’s played a hand in the success of projects like “The Haves and The Have Nots,” as well as, Why Did I Get Married Too? Jarrod says, she brings some much-needed “heart to the piece.” He continued, “Women and men, we just think differently and it’s taken me years to accept that. I was more directive when creating the piece ‘do this here or do this there.’ But she [Drummer] found a way to create a more heartfelt connection — where you can still see the same movements, but it’s deeply connected to our emotions and I think that’s powerful.”
Meanwhile, Drummer hopes viewers will walk away with a true sense of “the importance of making definitive decisions in your life.”
“One thing I recently discovered is, that when it comes to Black masculinity — how we see Black men — it’s one-sided. This piece really gives us an inside look at the lives of Black men during a very vulnerable time, in Yves’ life. One of the things I like to tell the actors is, ‘I dare you to let me see a version of masculinity that I’ve never seen.’ And so, I think for me, I also want to show the audience that as Black men and Black people in general, we are vulnerable, emotional—there are so many different facets to who we are,” she says.
In closing, Jarrod offered up some sound advice for aspiring playwrights. “Do not ever look at the best case scenario for success. Look at the worst case scenario. If you can suffer that, then you should absolutely go for it.” Or as Drummer simply put it, “keep going!”
For more information or to buy tickets, visit unholywarplay.com.