Baltimore playwright and sassy Elle columnist R. Eric Thomas debuts his latest show, Mrs. Harrison, at Azuka Theatre.
We talked to Thomas earlier this year, and he told us that the play concerns two friends—one black woman, who is a successful playwright, and a white woman, who works as a standup comedian—who come together for a 10-year reunion, of sorts. Everything goes swell until an elephant in the room presents itself: The comedian contends that the playwright stole one of her stories.
Thomas says the playwright is “the closest character I’ve ever written to myself—not just because of what she does, but because she’s someone who’s interested in having her story seen as central. She’s not interested in otherness, in being made to feel like a minority. She’s interested in being the central narrative.”
In fact, he says, the story is about two people who want to be the center of attention, which, he notes is unusual for a play. “I look forward to seeing how audiences respond to Aisha, the playwright character, because she doesn’t want to share everything with you. I hope people find that beguiling but also confounding.”
The show is a brisk 75 minutes, and should appeal both to folks who enjoy comedies and those who prefer dramas. Thomas says he hopes audiences walk away puzzling over the characters but above all else feeling like they’ve had an experience that’s personally fulfilling. “If you want to debate which of these people is right, please do! You want to try to figure out which one of the characters is hiding from you? Absolutely do that. Or if you want to get wonky about comedy, that’s there, too.”
Check out our full Q&A with him here.