The playwright of the Broadway drama Slave Play is cancelling the highly anticipated Los Angeles run of the show in order to protest of the lack of female playwrights in the current season.
On Tuesday, playwright Jeremy O. Harris tweeted a screenshot of an email he sent to L.A.’s Center Theatre Group in which he notified management of his decision to cancel the engagement.
“It was a shock to realize that this season was programmed with only 1 woman across all theatres,” he wrote. “As an Angeleno and a lover of theatre I think Los Angeles audiences deserve an equitable showing of the playwrights working in the U.S. right now.”
He added: “I’ve spoken to my team and would like to begin the process of removing slave play from the season at this time.”
— Variety Screenwriter To Watch Jeremy O. Harris (@jeremyoharris) October 5, 2021
Center Theatre Group had already removed Slave Play from its official site as of Tuesday afternoon. The drama was scheduled to begin its run at the Mark Taper Forum in downtown L.A. in February, following its return Broadway engagement.
It remains unclear what impact the cancellation will have on the Slave Play cast, who will be unemployed due to the playwright’s decision. Performing at the Mark Taper Forum is a plum gig for stage actors looking to break into movies and TV, since Hollywood casting agents are known to attend plays in search of new faces.
Slave Play is an ambitious drama that uses slavery as the central motif to explore interracial relationships throughout U.S. history. The play received 12 Tony Award nominations, including best new play, but went home empty-handed on Tony night.
As Breitbart News reported, Slave Play will bring back performances for black-only audiences when it returns to Broadway for a limited engagement starting November, with producers saying the invitation-only performances will be limited to “Black-identifying” people.