Aleshea Harris’s plays often explore the intricacies of relationships between women. Audiences come to understand the nuances of each character’s personality by observing her in conversation with other women, from mothers and sisters to rivals and mentors. On the page, characters’ affects are also illustrated by Harris’s use of innovative typography; an admonishment might be rendered in large typeface, while a whispered admission might waft down the page in tiny letters. Her new play, On Sugarland, excavates an intergenerational relationship between preadolescent Sadie and her aunt, Odella. For this special issue, we asked Harris to share snippets from the work, annotated with her thoughts on character formation, scene setting, and typographical experimentation.
Aleshea Harris’s Is God Is won the Relentless Award, an Obie award, and the Helen Merrill Playwriting Award. What to Send Up… was featured in American Theatre Magazine and won a Special Commendation from the 2020 Blackburn Prize.
Image: Dominic Alves, The ISS, photograph, 2009. CC BY 2.0.