Daniel Beaty/Resurrection
09.9.08 at Interstate Firehouse Cultural Center
2008 Time-Based Art Festival, PICA
Photo by CaroleZoom
All Rights Reserved, PICA
Posted by Dusty Hoesly
Resurrection is a powerful, piercing, and poetic story of African American men in the early 21st century. Offering a life-affirming vision against all that would deny life (drugs, addictions, prejudice, imprisonment, diabetes, failing businesses), Beaty underscores the fragility of our dreams and the importance of children as our anchors in a world of uncertainty. Resurrection is the hope that we can create a world where men take responsibility for raising families, where people take care of each other and themselves.

Beaty plays six characters, all male: Eric, a boy who loves science and tries to mix an herbal iced-tea cure-all; Mr. Rodgers, his father, who struggles to keep the family herb business alive; a dyslexic 20-year-old dropout who finally graduated and will attend Morehouse College; Isaac, a corporate executive who mentors the younger man; Bishop, Isaac’s father, a minister and diabetic who rejects his gay son; and Dre, an ex-con who is looking for a second chance. Moving to different locations on the stage to signal character changes, and using identifying gestures and voices, Beaty creates complete personalities full of desire, grief, and joy.
He mixes observations on morality with frequent and often bawdy comedy. As their lives intertwine, Beaty emphasizes the strong women who support them. “Fewer men would be in prison,” he says, “if they saw good role models up close.” He notes that “failure is worse than aiming low.” The diabetic preacher cries that “vegan doesn’t even sound tasty.” When one man fears losing his baby, he describes his sorrow in striking terms: “twin towers collapse on my chest.” Looking at these characters and the many others who are lost in anguish and injustice, he cries, “How do broken people love each other?”
This play is about the courage to follow your dreams and the wisdom to choose responsible dreams in the first place. The young boy’s death, his sacrifice, strings all these stories together. It’s the hope of a child to cure black male despair, a hopelessness born from racism, poverty, self-doubt, imprisonment, and ultimately slavery. Through it all, Beaty sings a grace note, makes an offering, that through all this difficulty and frustration we might come together in love. Whether this maturity of vision and generosity of spirit can carry forth into the world is our responsibility; of this, Beaty is a living example.
Posted by Dusty Hoesly