One of the most well-known songs in the 1967 tribal love-rock musical Hair is a ballad called "Easy to Be Hard" whose lyrics are, "How can people be so heartless? / How can people be so cruel? / Easy to be hard / Easy to be cold." That song, sung by a woman to a man, points to how when it comes to masculinity, being hard and unfeeling is the default. And as dramatized by Donja R. Love's moving new play soft, the pressure to be hypermasculine is even more pronounced among Black boys, where...
Rounding out MCC Theater's 2021-2022 reopening season, Donja R. Love's soft is at the Susan and Ronald Frankel Theater from May to June 2022. soft tickets will be available on New York Theatre Guide soon.
soft is a play about surviving a harsh world and the people that inspire one to do so. The show is set in a correctional boarding school, where Mr. Isaiah teaches a class of Black and brown boys. He tries to "plant flowers" in their minds as he plants them around his classroom, inspiring their imaginations and showing them how to remain tender and soft in a world that discourages these qualities in them. But when one of his students dies by suicide, he newly struggles to figure out how to save them from that world.
Love's published body of work includes nine plays: besides soft, his plays include Sugar in Our Wounds, Fireflies, and In the Middle that the Philadelphia-based playwright has premiered largely in Pennsylvania and New York. He is best known for his 2019 play one in two, based on the CDC-reported statistic that one in two Black queer men will be diagnosed with HIV in their lifetime. That show was Love's last Off-Broadway venture, premiering at Signature Theatre's Pershing Square Signature Center.
Sugar in Our Wounds at New York City Center marked his 2018 Off-Broadway debut, and Fireflies followed later that year with Atlantic Theater Company. soft off Broadway is Love's MCC Theater debut.
Love "writes specifically about Black and Queer folx, for Black and Queer folx," according to his own artist's statement, and takes inspiration from the work of Toni Morrison and James Baldwin. He is also a host of the Black theatre podcast OffBook, a co-founder of the community-building organization The Each-Other Project, and the founder of Write It Out!, a workshop specifically for writers with HIV.
Tickets to soft will be available soon.
Flowers are in full bloom—in Mr. Isaiah’s classroom, in the halls of the correctional boarding school where he teaches, and in the depths of his students’ imaginations. After one boy dies by suicide, Mr. Isaiah struggles to figure out how to save the Black and Brown boys he teaches from a world that tries to crush their softness.
100 minutes - no intermission
June 28th, 2022
July 17th, 2022
The Robert W. Wilson MCC Theater Space
Cast and creative
By: Donja R. Love
Director: Whitney White