WRITTEN BY ALISON SKILTON
Playwright and SFC Communications Arts Professor Magaly Colimon-Christopher spoke to SFC Today after the premiere of her newest production, The Hunting Season.
The play’s inspiration hits close to home for Coliman-Christopher. As Haitian-Americans, the black men in her family—specifically her brother—are at the forefront of a sad truth that many Americans do not want to talk about: the issue of police profiling and police brutality against young black men. Coliman-Christopher has witnessed this for years first-hand, and she decided to use her calling as an artist to do something about it.
The production has been a longtime coming for the playwright. “This has been a very long journey,” she told SFC Today. “It started in 1999. My brother was my inspiration. After I graduated college, I bought a brand new car,” she continued, “It was a matter of me feeling disempowered because he would get pulled over on a regular basis because he was driving my car, and I never knew anything about profiling. I lived in this little bubble of […] all that stuff was back in the 60s, it’s not happening anymore. And that was a bubble that was burst when my brother became an adult, and he’s driving my car, and he’s getting pulled over almost every week and asked for ID because he’s driving a brand new car. Not because he’s going through a light, or going through a stop sign, simply because he was driving my brand new car.”
Sick of seeing this racial injustice played out upon her innocent brother—who she described as “the sweetest guy ever”—Coliman-Christopher took to heart the old adage of “the pen is mightier than the sword” and decided to speak to people about it through her art.
She revisited and reworked the play time and time again after each new incident happened to her brother and the men around her, she said. “I was like, ‘I have to come up with a solution that I can live with,’” she continued, “So I started writing this play about this brother and sister, and for me the sister was supposed to rescue the brother. I just felt like someone has to say something about the families, give a face to the families.”
And she did. The play proved an intimate glance into one family’s struggle about not only what it means to be an American, but the reality of what it means to be a black American in today’s unjust world.
“It’s about the survival of America,” she poignantly stated, “The men that we love are targets.”
Coliman-Christopher has always tried to imbue her plays with a stark realism with the end goal of a tangible, realistic change. “Money talks. And that’s the ending of my play. We’re going to do something to the money and legislation will follow. And it won’t even just be us. It’ll be the world. This is not a conversation for one race, it’s a conversation for the planet.”
With determined minds like Coliman-Christopher’s speaking about race relations in this country and forging a path for far-reaching global change, the future of the planet we share looks brighter than ever.