The Yvonne Bechet Theatre Project presented a reading of Black and Blue, a full-length play, livestreamed on the global, commons-based, peer produced HowlRound TV network at howlround.tv on Saturday 3 October at 12 p.m. PDT (San Francisco, UTC -7) / 2 p.m. CDT (Chicago, UTC -5) / 3 p.m. EDT (New York, UTC -4).
Play by Ariadne Blayde, directed by Troy Poplous.
A fictionalized drama, Black and Blue is inspired by the real life and impact of Yvonne Bechet, who served as one of New Orleans’ first Black female police officers from 1968-90 and rose through the ranks to become Deputy Superintendent of the NOPD. Through the lens of her career, the play explores the intersections of race and gender within policing to ask the urgent question: how can we fix the broken system of law enforcement in America? Yvonne Bechet’s legacy may possess the seeds of an answer.
Black and Blue is the creative culmination of the Yvonne Bechet Theatre Project, a group of local New Orleans artists and activists committed to bringing Yvonne’s story to the stage. The group commissioned playwright Ariadne Blayde to create the piece, which had its world premiere in 2018 at Dillard University and was directed by Troy Poplous.
The purpose of this reading is to spark conversations about how the stories of Yvonne Bechet and thousands of Black women who have served similar roles across the country might serve us in this moment of national reckoning. What does positive fundamental change within police departments look like? What does a transformation of policing look like? What do American communities need to feel safe, supported, and nurtured?
Written by Ariadne Blayde
Directed by Troy Poplous
Younger Anne Broussard / Patricia: Cherelle Palmer
Robert Broussard / Older Robert Jr.: Rodney Graham
Aunt Theo / Older Anne Broussard: Carol Sutton
Cupertino / Paul Crane: Robert Florence
Calhoun / Kesselman: Matt Story
Nite Smile / Reynolds: Zeb Hollins III
Becky / Dana Crane: Linnea Gregg
Young Robert Jr. / Stage Directions: Niles Cosey
Jakoby / Stage Directions: Dessalines Hayden