a.k. payne
a.k. payne

2024 Finalist

Love I Awethu Further

Synopsis: Callie been dreaming bout three days in which they may call up who they be beyond Mistress’ language, box, tomb and barrel, to dream beyond Mistress’ “woman.” From her plans drawn out between tobacco rows, come a collective: her twin, her friends, her nameless mother and ancestor. In this adaptation of Julius Caesar, seven plan a revolt in the Antebellum South.

Cast Breakdown:
everybody listed above is Black*
MISTRESS Catherine, white woman
*cast a wide range of Black women, non-binary, and genderqueer people. the word “woman” is always trans-inclusive. the cast may not be entirely made of cisgender individuals. be intentional, both, about casting and about how the room will create conditions for a radical care in its abundant wake. move with grace.

in case this needs to be clarified, “wide range” means…
cast queer Black women & non-binary… people;
& cast dark-skinned Black women & non-binary… people;
& cast disabled Black women & non-binary… people;
& cast global south Black women & non-binary…people;
& cast fat and thick Black women & non-binary… people;
& cast poor Black women & non-binary…people;
& cast Black women & non-binary… people who were not trained formally in acting and
who can EMBODY and/or spit a poem vital to this revolution…
holding intersectionality, ad infinitum…

Set/Costume Requirements:
Antebellum, something like Virginia
also time is made by he who hold the power
so take the era with a grain of salt
in our time
this is perhaps
tomorrow too

what characters wear
should reflect this slipperiness
of time

Three Cabins—Callie’s, Portia’s and Awethu’s
which hold space
for the fields

The church house

& The Mistress’ House
behind which is a great oak tree
the front of which is a large porch


Agent: Jamie Kaye-Phillips, Paradigm Talent Agency, jkayephillips@paradigmagency.com

Bio: a.k. payne (she/they) is a playwright, artist-theorist, and theatermaker with roots in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Their plays love on and engage the interdependencies of Black pasts, presents and futures and seek to find/remember language that might move us towards our collective liberation(s). They hold a B.A. in English and African-American Studies from Yale College and an MFA in Playwriting under Tarell Alvin McCraney from fka Yale School of Drama. Their work has been a finalist for the L. Arnold Weissberger New Play Award and the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize. She is the current recipient of the Van Lier New Voices Fellowship, National Black Theatre’s I AM SOUL Playwrights Residency, the Kemp Powers Commission Fund for Black Playwrights and Atlantic Theater Company’s Judith Champion Launch Commission. Their work has been developed with the National Playwrights Conference, The New Harmony Project, Great Plains Theater Conference, and Manhattan Theater Club’s “Groundworks Lab.” Their play Furlough’s Paradise will have its World Premiere at Alliance Theatre, January 31-March 3, 2024. They are a proud graduate of Pittsburgh Public Schools; grandchild of the Great Migration; descendant of a music teacher and a carpenter, who both march every year with their unions in Pittsburgh’s Labor Day parade; a queer & non-binary abolitionist affected in community by the ‘New Jim Crow;” and of a great lineage of Black women storytellers and living-room archivists; all of which deeply informs, uplifts and amplifies their work as a playwright, community organizer and spacemaker.