When it ran off-Broadway, the show Slave Play left audiences stunned. The provocative new script centers on three interracial couples – diving deeply into issues of racism, sexuality and love. Slave Play is now in previews and opening on Broadway in October.
Connecticut Public Radio spoke with two of the show’s co-executive producers – Greg Nobile and Jana Shea of Branford-based Seaview Productions. Here are highlights of their conversation:
On what makes theater commercial
What’s becoming “commercial” is shifting in Broadway in real time. Last season, we saw two very different sides of the spectrum with two plays. Both were deemed “not commercial,” either because of the scale or the size or the content of the play. Both recouped their investment. Putting a star in a revival of an “x –playwright” play is not as sure fire a bet as it used to be. But a more challenging work that feels much more in the zeitgeist of what our cultural audiences are looking for, is a much safer bet.
On why Slave Play resonates
It certainly triggers. It certainly kicks up a lot of stuff no matter what you bring to the experience. But I think at the end of the day the play is about conversation. And I think in this particular cultural moment, using conversation as a way to work through a relationship needs to be at the front of our discourse, because we’re at a place in our country where conversation is not the tool that we’re using to break through barriers with each other.
Broadway is a billion-dollar industry that exists on 10 blocks of a little piece of real estate in Manhattan. And there are very few gatekeepers to the keys to that kingdom. What we’ve started to understand is, we can start to rip these walls down if we just expand our minds and welcome new audiences and creative teams to the table. That change is possible. That change is real. And it's happening.