by Lou Johnson
In the heat of battle, being able to distinguish friend from foe is vital. Unfortunately in the war against racial injustice, it’s even harder to determine a genuine ally from a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
Jerluane 'Jay' Jenkins-Director is a playwright and actor in Chicago and recent graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago. While pursuing her Bachelor's in Theatre and Performance it became clear that opportunities in theatre were scarce for students of color. With this information and years of living in Chicago in mind Jerluane makes a conscious effort tell the stories of people who are often unheard. Her goal is to build up her community from the inside.
Cayla L. Jones (as Woman #18) Cayla Jones is excited to be working with Perceptions Theatre on the project "Frenemies". Theater for social change is something that is near to her heart since graduating from Illinois State University in 2019 with a degree in Acting and minor in Women & Gender Studies. Since graduating she has been based in Chicago, working on productions and jobs such as an Actor/Educator at Catharsis Productions to combat sexual assault and upstander intervention, as well as a role in Black Ensemble Theater's Plays with a Purpose series for young audiences. Most recently Cayla played the role of "Grace" In Collaboraction's production of Lift Every Voice which highlighted the conversations of today's racial issues amongst teenagers. She has also been able to work in theatre as a Program Manager for Pegasus Theatre Chicago for their Young Playwrights Festival, as well as a Stage Managed for Possibilities Theatre and Avalanche Theatre in Chicago. Through work at Illinois State University, Collaboraction, Black Ensemble Theater and multiple other institutions, has really shown her love for the acting and the arts as a whole.
Teagan Fitzpatrick (as Woman #17) is a Chicago based actor/comedian. They were drawn to “Colorblind” and “Frenemies” because they tackle the nuances of racism, classism, and activism. Both pieces are very specific and poignant in the way they talk about the cultural movements happening in the United States. You can see more of her work at teaganfitzpatrick.com and see Instagram content from their sketch group, Neapolitan Productions (@theneapolitanproductions). They are excited to be a part of the BIPOC Playwrights fest and to be in service of my directors, these playwrights, and of the important stories that are being told.