Jesse an introspective black playwright, finds his choices called into question when his boyfriend, Neil, a white Black Lives Matter activist, calls him out for his political apathy. As passions and priorities collide, this couple is forced to reckon with issues of race, class, and the bravery it takes to love out loud.
“When first commissioned to write, I was asked, ‘Can you talk about what it’s like to move about the world in a Black body during these times?’ In 2021, the same question is still being asked, and an answer is still hard to find. What has carried through, though, is the importance of moments of love – large and small – between the moments of struggle. This Bitter Earth is a love story about two men finding each other and finding their voices in an extremely challenging time, and the ways in which their love changes them forever.” – Harrison David Rivers, Playwright
“We live in a time in which all of our choices are politicized within an imaginary binary. Likewise, many of our society’s systems uphold a polarized “black or white” way of thinking, created to highlight and enforce our differences. But it is in the gray areas – where two truths exist in the same breath – that we have the potential to find real understanding and recognize the multitudinous intersections of our own humanity. Revisiting this play in 2022, after more than two years of loss, uncertainty, isolation and a long overdue reckoning, set off by a global pandemic and the continued violence against Black bodies, I’m struck by the poignancy of this work to reflect both the past and the current dilemmas we face as a society.” – David Mandizábal, Director