Yell: A Documentary of My Time Here

WHITE PEOPLE SAY THE WORD PEDAGOGY TO ME

Jarrett Key, Apartment. 2019, silkscreen on paper. 20 × 26". In collaboration with Merrick Adams. Courtesy of the artist.

The play that follows is not Yell: A Documentary of My Time Here. The play that follows is Yell: A Documentary of My Time Here [as published in condensed form for n+1 Issue 38]. This is an important distinction because Yell: A Documentary of My Time Here was always meant to be a site-specific document of my time in the space of Yale School of Drama. I wrote this play in a fevered and manic moment of rage, the type of rage one feels after awakening to their own powerlessness. I am not stupid — I knew what I signed up for when I decided to do graduate studies at a school built upon the Quinnipiac’s stolen land. A school that boasted proudly that my “most-diverse class” was an example of the “Lupita effect.” That my cohort and myself, particularly the blacks, were inheritors of a new level of cultural capital the institution needed even if most of us paid less than our white cohort because we had inherited far less actual capital. Yet knowing this, and even knowing that I had walked out of orientation on the second day because a yale police officer, black, told me and my black cohorts that essentially our lives mattered more than the black lives of New Haven who might cause us harm, because they wanted what we had — what we had being access to “white learning” — I had stayed, believing that I could take more from this place than they would take from me. After one specific talk with the dean I realized that was foolhardy, for the age-old trap of white supremacy is that it will find a way to eat away at an individual who attempts to rise against it. David, Goliath. The only thing I could do was build a bomb, a bomb too large to carry on my own, that had to be held by the bodies of more performers than had ever been in a playwright’s thesis production at yale, that had to be witnessed by the most eyes that ever witnessed any student show at yale, for that was the only way the memory of my defiance could maybe leave a scar on the walls of a building so indebted to white supremacy. It was only ever meant to live there, yet with shifts in the world it felt as though it was time for this play, in part, to be witnessed by more eyes, held by more hands, so that perhaps the scar could be left on more walls than just those of !!!!!!!!!!.

tl;dr: i had a manic episode about school and wrote it all down.

—Jeremy O. Harris

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