Davon Green sits at a desk in Anacostia High School, a mischievous smile playing across his lips. Coy and charming, he reminds one of Messiah, the protagonist of his New Play Festival Featured Play, Death of an Attractive Thief - and Davon readily admits the resemblance.
"Messiah is a part of me," Davon says. "He has some hidden characteristics that ... I wish I had, but I wasn't raised that way."
Davon's profound personal connection to his play shines through in every detail. Messiah and his love interest, Autumn, are named after the children Davon hopes to have in the future. The love between them echoes romances the playwright easily calls to mind, including the ninth grade girlfriend who prompted him to start writing. Davon even hopes to use one of his own raps as background music in a party scene, further blurring the line between creator and creation.
"It was hard but easy," Davon says about writing a piece so close to his heart. "I just imagined it and brought it to life" on the page, but doing so took seven weeks of revising and expanding, deepening the love story and weaving in comedic moments without undermining the play's tragic power. For two hours a day - "that's the most time we could get on the computer [in the library]" - Davon shaped and reshaped his piece until it fit his vision and his voice.
The result is an extraordinary work of authentic, nuanced feeling, that is sure to wow the New Play Festival crowd on April 30. We are humbled by the thought that, had a grant from the Harman Family Foundation not allowed us to partner with Anacostia High's Twilight Program last fall, we never would have met Davon nor had the opportunity to present his piece. As it stands, we can now reach Ward 7 students like Davon three times in their educational "continuum": once at Plummer Elementary School, once at Sousa Middle School and now once at Anacostia High. We cannot wait to see the work that these incredible young people put forth!
Davon will be in the audience on April 30, as will his family, his friends and a busload of Anacostia High students already buzzing with excitement. But part of him will be onstage as well, in Messiah and Autumn and T-Money and Charmaine - and that part will remain long after the applause subsides.
Death of an Attractive Thief contains mature material, and is recommended for ages 16 and up.
For more information on the New Play Festival, visit our New Play Festival page or Facebook event!