Premiering in 2023!
Everyone thinks they know what is good for Lena Thomas, but do they really know who she is and what she wants for her destiny? Bar Girl of Jamaica by Robert Johnson Jr. explores the experiences of young women who leave urban areas in search of a better life in the countryside, only to find themselves trapped and exploited by men and women who prey upon their innocence and poverty. The play juxtaposes the histories and legacies of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, Reggae and the Blues against the realities of a young mother navigating the circumstances that surround and entrap her life. A seasoned and celebrated Boston playwright, Johnson’s new play adds to an oeuvre that examines the lives of African Americans through the themes of migration, trauma, law, religion, repatriation and reparations. Bar Girl of Jamaica is Johnson’s first play exploring the modern realities of the descendants of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade not enslaved in the United States.
Robert Johnson Jr.
Robert Johnson Jr. (Playwright): Attorney Johnson grew up in Boston’s South End, Roxbury and Mattapan and has been writing plays since high school. His Coffee and Sour Cream, written while a student at Boston English High was the first high school written play to be produced at Harvard’s Loeb Experimental Theatre in 1964. His play, Patience of Nantucket, under the direction of Akiba Abaka’s Up You Mighty Race Company, received excellent reviews upon its premiere production in Boston and Nantucket, MA in 2007. The Boston Globe wrote: “Masterful ‘Patience’ is …power packed.” The Boston Herald wrote “Johnson’s script makes Patience so real, and though 150 years have passed, he’s worked in striking contemporary political parallels.” His play, Mother G, received the following review by The Boston Globe, June 2, 2009 upon its premiere production in Boston: “In Mother G playwright Robert Johnson tells a powerful story of women standing up to a corrupt pastor and the men who initially support him…” His Cell Phone Blues received 3 stars out of 4 by the Charlotte Observer upon its premiere production at Charlotte’s Booth Playhouse. Creative Loafing wrote: “As proven by Exonerated and The Laramie Project, there’s a new niche for dramas that are scrupulously researched and presented with documentary style objectivity. Robert Johnson Jr.’s Cell Phone Blues is akin to those docudramas, taking up the question of black life in America- Charlotte, actually- on the eve of Barack Obama’s election to the presidency.” The most recent production of one of his plays was Stop & Frisk in 2014 at the Boston Center for the Arts under the direction of Jacqui Parker of Our Place Theatre Project. Stop & Frisk premiered at the Strand Theatre in 1994 under the direction of the late James A. Spruill of New African Theatre Company and Boston University’s School of Theatre Arts.