By Eleanor Burgess
Directed by JEREMY RASHAD BROWN
January 16 - February 2, 2020
"...an audacious, confrontational, and ever-so-relevant piece of theatrical dynamite!"
- Austin Arts Watch
"The heart of Eleanor Burgess' of-the-moment drama is the racing thump-thump-thump of our country's current uncivil discourse – over race, over privilege, over gender, over generational character – and the play's two characters cover all of those topics with the same rancorous wrangling that can be heard across the land these days. And with every angry escalation of the issues here, Jarrott Productions' staging quickens the heart."
- Austin Chronicle
"Visit this spaghetti bowl of despair, and you will go home satisfied and inspired."
– Central Texas Live Theatre
"Jarrott Productions continues to produce some of the finest, most thought provoking theatre in Austin and THE NICETIES lives up to that benchmark. Jeremy Rashad Brown's direction is brilliant, giving his actors room to stretch and present their arguments with natural ambiance. Francesca Christian and Jacqui Calloway are perfectly cast...The set design by Michael Krauss is gorgeous. In fact I believe it's the best use of the Trinity Street Theatre's space I have yet to see."
- Broadway World Austin
I grew up in Charleston, South Carolina, a picturesque city with a heavy legacy. It is thought that 40 percent of all US slaves entered the country there. Even today, if you pick up an issue of Charleston Weddings, you’ll find photos of 300+ guests celebrating at plantations without a single person of color in sight. In many ways, this country is still deeply segregated and divided.
As a nation, we must acknowledge our structural issues, past and present. We must learn how to understand and relate to people who might, at first glance, seem very different to us.
At one point in the play, my character says, “I want this to be your problem. I have spent my life living with this problem.” These words resonate with me in a way that few have. It is not every day that you get to speak your truth without facing serious repercussions.
Activism has never been safe. I am grateful to Eleanor Burgess for these words and to Jarrott Productions for taking on a timely and provocative play.
I’m drawn to The Niceties because it takes on important ideas about race, privilege and social justice. These issues are explored on multiple levels: personal, political, historical, the mundane/everyday, etc. Here you have two people who care deeply about the world, and minority populations in particular. Yet they differ greatly in how they play out their beliefs, both in terms of their factual knowledge and “lived” experience.
This play is confrontational. The dialogue is full of passion, idealism, questions and demands. We’re invited to a fight: two people vehemently defending their personal visions of what is right and what is wrong, what is true and what is false. This play has caused me to think (and re-think) where I land on that spectrum, and I also think it’s pretty funny too!
Questions come up: Is America working? What’s at stake? Is there hope for the future? Who gets to do the talking? We also have Google and the internet as (kind of) back-drop characters, offering a steady stream of messy public discourse. Everyone has an opinion! Did I mention the laughs?
Jeremy Rashad Brown
Zaria S El Fil
PRODUCTION STAGE MANAGER
BOX OFFICE/HOUSE MANAGER
Carlo Lorenzo Garcia