BY DWANDRA LAMPKIN, DIRECTOR
The story that inspired NO. 6 is regretfully, but not surprisingly, familiar. The play is set in 2001 following the murder of 19-year old Timothy Thomas, an unarmed black man in Cincinnati, Ohio. Timothy lost his life at the hands of a policemen who perceived that he was reaching for a gun; but in reality, Timothy was merely pulling up his pants. While this particular story focuses on the events that took place twenty years ago, it eerily resembles what also took place 65 years ago with the lynching of Emmett Till, three years ago with Botham Jean, ten months ago with the senseless murder of Breonna Taylor, and eight months ago with the asphyxiation of George Floyd.
The impact of “injustice fatigue” is permeating, forming a thick cloud of dust—choking its victims, blinding bystanders, and creating an escape hatch for the perpetrators. As artists, we have a responsibility to bring things to light. It is our job to raise awareness, to provoke conversation—to lean into the pain, but be courageous enough to go against the grain. As we work towards “shifting” our narrative as people of color, it is important that we continue to tell stories that acknowledge our history--the good, the bad, and the ugly. NO. 6 provides us the opportunity to acknowledge the black and brown people who have lost their lives to police brutality, while simultaneously creating a space for us to reflect, re-examine, and recalibrate.
In light of current events, it is my hope that audiences will allow their anger, frustration, and confusion to shape their experience as they bear witness to this play. You must be willing to go through it to get to it.
The IRT produces top-quality, professional theatre that engages, surprises, challenges and entertains people throughout their lifetimes, helping to build a vital and vibrant community.
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