Aesthetically Speaking

Playwrights’ Center presents “The Realness” by Idris Goodwin

idrisgoodwinThe Ruth Easton New Play Series at the Playwrights’ Center continues in March with readings of the new play “The Realness: the second break beat play” by Core Writer Idris Goodwin. The play will have two public readings: Monday, March 2 and Tuesday, March 3 at 7 p.m. at the Playwrights’ Center, 2301 E. Franklin Avenue in Minneapolis. The readings are free, but tickets go fast. Reserve yours now at

In “The Realness,” Thomas has escaped the ‘burbs and come to the city to savor authentic hip hop culture. He falls madly in love with Prima, a super-dope MC, and he is willing to lie, cheat, and scheme to win her well-guarded heart. But is he after real love or fulfilling a middle class rap fantasy? A meditation on authenticity and class collision, “The Realness” follows a young man’s journey for his heart and true identity.

Prima will be played by well-known Twin Cities hip hop artist Maria Isa, making her first appearance at the Playwrights’ Center. Shá Cage will also be featured, with the rest of the cast announced soon. Wendy Goldberg of The Eugene O’Neill Theater Center is directing, and Joshua Horvath is creating the beats.

“The play takes place in ’96, right when hip hop was questioning its own authenticity,” says playwright Idris Goodwin. “I like to think it’s when hip hop went to college. Artists like Puff Daddy were bringing hip hop further into the mainstream as many artists like De La Soul and KRS-One were trying to preserve an essence they felt was true or real. The dichotomy between rap and hip hop, underground and commercial becomes a popular theme in the culture.”

Playwrights’ Center Producing Artistic Director Jeremy B. Cohen says, “Idris is a fierce artist challenging the ideas of authenticity in ways that will resonate with artists and art lovers in any field. He has such a unique, lyrical voice as a writer, and I can’t wait to share his work with the Twin Cities community.”

Idris Goodwin is a Core Writer at the Playwrights’ Center, and an award-winning playwright, essayist, and spoken word artist. His play “How We Got On,” developed at The Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, premiered at the 2012 Humana Festival of New Plays. Nominated for an ATCA Steinberg New Play Award, critically acclaimed, and published by Playscripts, “How We Got On,” is being widely remounted across the country. Recent plays include: “This is Modern Art” (co-written with Kevin Coval), “And In This Corner…Cassius Clay,” and “Bars and Measures.” “The Realness” was featured in The Araca Group’s New Play Reading Series with American Theatre Company. He is the recipient of InterAct Theater’s 20/20 Commission Award. Goodwin has been a writer in residence at Berkeley Rep’s Ground Floor Program, The Kennedy Center, and New Harmony Project. An accomplished poet and essayist, his book “These are the Breaks” was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. He’s performed on HBO, Discovery, and Sesame Street.

The Ruth Easton New Play Series provides Playwrights’ Center Core Writers with 24 hours of workshop time to develop a new play in collaboration with top-notch actors and other theater artists. The workshops culminate in public readings, giving audience members a uniquely intimate and accessible way to experience the thrill of raw new work and be part of the creative process. This year the series expands from one reading of each play to two.

All events in the Ruth Easton New Play Series are free and open to the public. Reservations are recommended; reserve your spots at or by contacting the Playwrights’ Center at (612) 332-7481 or

February 23, 2015
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