WHITE PLAYWRIGHT, BLACK OFFICER'S TALE
'Just Writing Humanity' ''I must have been naive,'' the 42- year-old Mr. McIntyre said, ''but when I was writing the play, I don't remember thinking, 'I'm writing black characters.' If I had, then I would've been blocked. I was just writing humanity. But when I was done and saw what I had, I was scared of it. I knew it would be controversial. I knew it was dangerous.''
-The New York Times Archives
In 2015 I had the pleasure of collaborating with a dynamic group of performers whose vision was to bring compelling stories to audiences and deliver those stories in non-traditional formats. Founded by Broadway actor and director DeMone Seraphin, The New American Theatre Co. NY operated out of a raw space in Brooklyn where we staged readings of contemporary and classical plays using immersive storytelling. It was during this time that I was introduced to Split Second. Written by Dennis McIntyre, Split Second is an explosive drama that explores the emotional and societal fallout when a respected black police officer loses his cool and in a "split second" kills a white man: a taunting, racist petty thief.
Dennis McIntyre wrote Split Second over 30 years ago, and the subject matter couldn't be more relevant now as racial inequality continues to threaten the increasingly fragile relationship between police and the communities they serve. It's easy to focus solely on race, but we'd be remiss in ignoring everything surrounding it. Racial inequality is simply the result of our individual character flaws; it's the fraying of our morals, integrity, principles, and values. Split Second forces us to reflect on how we behave in private spaces, and what influences our choices. Does what happens in the darkness eventually come to light? When humans commit horrific acts, can they redeem themselves even if they don't come clean?
Split Second ran July 17-21, 2019 at Theatre 54 @ Shetler Studios & Theatres, 244 W 54th Street, in New York’s vibrant Theater District. DeMone Seraphin, artistic director; the cast starred Alphonso Walker Jr. (Val Johnson), Tommy Norton (William H. Willis), Candice Tiffany Gordon (Alea Johnson), James Foster Jr. (Rusty Johnson), Heinley Gaspard (Charlie), and Joe Loper (Parker). Casting by Gama Valle from Harriet Bass Casting.
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Split Second was presented by special arrangement with Samuel French, Inc., a Concord Theatricals Company. Split Second is also a sponsored project of Fractured Atlas, a non-profit arts service organization. Contributions for the charitable purposes of Split Second must be made payable to "Fractured Atlas" only and are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.