#BIPOCSwap List- The Plays
Ricky Pak, Assistant Professor of Acting- Syracuse University
Please feel free to add your entries, copy and share for your own use, etc. I will "clean up" the sheet from time to time to try and keep things in Alpha order of Column A. Meanwhile, use the search function (Command+F) to find key words you might be looking for. Try not to edit someone else's entry. Instead feel free to leave a comment (Command+Option+M) for a suggested revision and either I or the original contributor (or playwright if they connect to this list) will take the suggestion for consideration. Lastly, the swaps are, of course, open to interpretation. Can we please view the swap suggestions from a lens of positivity and less from a critical lens? Thank you!
If You Teach This...Swap it for This...Identity (Optional)Common Themes (Open to interpretation of course!)Contributor Contact (Optional)
A Christmas Carol by Charles DickensA Tlingit Christmas Carol by Vera StarbardA modern adaption with TLINGITS! (Description from playwright's website)
A Christmas Carol by Charles DickensA Xmas Cuento Remix by Maya Malan-GonzalezLatinaA modern Latina adaptation of "A Christmas Carol" with remixed Spanish and English Christmas songs. (Description from Malan-Gonzalez (FB Group Theater Folks of Color)
A Taste of Honey by Shelagh DelaneyBFE by Julia ChoAsian AmericanDomestic dramas that follow daughters with unwell mothers whose notions of propriety are harmful to themDavid Valdez (FB Group Theater Folks of Color)
Absurdist PlaysLes Blancs by Lorraine Hansberry
Absurdist PlaysSongs of the Dragon Flying to Heaven by Young Jean LeeDavid Valdez (FB Group Theater Folks of Color)
Antigone by SophoclesAntíkoni by Beth PiatoteA Native American family is torn apart as they struggle over the fate of ancestral remains and their conflicting loyalties to different notions of tradition, law, and the price of sacrifice. (Description from a reading -- play is available in her book, The Beadworkers)
Antigone by SophoclesWoman on Fire by Marisela Treviño OrtaLatinxa re-imagining of Sophocles' ANTIGONE set along the Arizona/Mexico border. The ghost of a woman who died while crossing the border haunts the unwilling heroine Juanita, the wife of a U.S. Border Patrolman. Juanita finds herself torn between the law of man and a higher law when she must decide whether or not to put her husband's career and their marriage at risk in order to give the restless spirit the proper burial it demands.Marisela Treviño Orta (FB Group Theatre Folks of Color)
August Osage CountyThe First Deep Breath by Lee Edward Colston IIBlack QueerEpic plays in the style of classically epic plays like AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY/ A LONG DAY’S JOURNEY INTO NIGHT/ CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF/etc.

The First Deep Breath tells the story of Pastor Albert Jones and his family as they plan a special church service to honor their late daughter Diane on the sixth anniversary of her passing. But when Abdul-Malik, the eldest son Albert blames for Diane's death, returns home from prison, the entire Jones family is forced to confront a hornet’s nest of long-buried family secrets. Old skeletons claw their way to the dinner table, picking at the scraps of Mother Bethel Baptist’s First Family. With each member of the Jones family desperately fighting to stay afloat, sometimes the family that stays together drowns together.
Lee Edward Colston II
Buried Child by Sam ShepardGhosts of Bogota by Diana BurbanoLatinxfamily secrets, dysfunction, patriarchy
Cherry Orchard by ChekovEl Nogalar by Tanya SarachoLatinxBased on A Cherry OrchardDiana Burbano (FB Group Theater Folks of Color)
Cherry Orchard by ChekovA Winter People by Chay YewAsian, Asian AmericanSet in pre-revolutionary China.Manoel Felciano and Peter Zazzali
Cherry Orchard by ChekovMagnolia by Regina TaylorBlack/African American Felciano
Clybourne Park by Bruce NorrisLuck of the Irish by Kirsten GreenidgeA family of African-American social strivers trying to get a toehold in a white suburban neighborhood of Boston in the late 1950s. (Description from Marie (FB Group Theater Folks of Color)
Comedy- RestorationThe Saint-Courtesan Sanskrit PlayDavid Valdez (FB Group Theater Folks of Color)
Comedy-GeneralBooty Candy by Robert O’HaraSutter is on an outrageous odyssey through his childhood home, his church, dive bars, motel rooms, and even nursing homes. A kaleidoscope that interconnects to portray growing up gay and black. (Description from Valdez (FB Group Theater Folks of Color)
Crimes of the Heart by Beth HenleyGhosts of Bogota by Diana BurbanoLatinxStory of three siblings, now late 20s to late 30s, who return to their parents’ birth country when their grandfather dies. GHOSTS is a universal story about family secrets... (Description from Burbano (FB Group Theater Folks of Color)
Death of a Salesman by Arthur MillerFences by August WilsonAfrican American/BlackFailing Father and Son relationships, Families living in denial, Older generations being left behind...Ricky Pak-
Death of a Salesman by Arthur MillerKill Move Paradise by James IjamesFour black men find themselves stuck in a waiting room for the afterlife. As they attempt to make sense of their new paradise, Isa, Daz, Grif, and Tiny are forced to confront the reality of their past, and how they arrived in this unearthly place. Inspired by the ever-growing list of slain black men and women, KILL MOVE PARADISE illustrates the potential for collective transformation and radical acts of joy.
Death of a Salesman by Arthur MillerRaisin in the Sun by Lorraine HansberryAfrican AmericanLack of access to the American Dream (for very different reasons, but in the same country and same era)Paulette Marty
Electra by SophoclesElectricidad by Luis AlfaroBased on Electra mythologyJeanette Sanchez-Izenman (FB Group Theater Folks of Color)
Glass Menagerie by Tennesee WilliamsTraveling Skin by John BellusoCommon themes of disability--Williams' Laura. Relationship between a diner waitress with cerebral palsy and her ex-girlfriend returning from Korea.Kia Corthron
Glass Menagerie by Tennesee WilliamsGretty Good Time by John BellusoCommon themes of disability--Williams' Laura. Relationship between a diner waitress with cerebral palsy and her ex-girlfriend returning from Korea.Kia Corthron
Greek family tragedies such as Sophocles' Oedipus RexDeath and the King's Horseman by Wole SoyinkaYoruba tradition; family and community tragedy; ritual and religion; politics and anti-colonialism (with acknowledgement that the playwright specifically states that the latter is not the point of the play)Katie McGerr -
GUESS WHOS COMING TO DINNER by William Rose DINNER by Lisa ThompsonWhat happens when an African American middle class woman and a wealthy Nigerian immigrant man, meet, fall in love and decide to marry after only knowing each other for six months? (Description from Wilson (FB Group Theater Folks of Color)
Hamlet by William Shakespeare Father Comes Home from the Wars Pts 1-2-3 by Suzan Lori-ParksSame themes as Hamlet, with most of the tragic elements (Description from FB Post in Theater Folks of Color)David Valdez (FB Group Theater Folks of Color)
Hamlet by William ShakespeareDO IT FOR UMMA by Seayoung YimAsian AmericanIn this surreal comedic detective story, the ghost of Hannah’s recently deceased mother returns to haunt the Korean convenience store she once ran with an iron fist, shaming, cajoling, and needling her daughter into avenging her extremely suspicious death. While Hannah’s older brother shirks off familial duties in favor of a romantic tryst with the local dry-cleaning maven, Hannah embarks on an epic mission to piece together the clues that will lead her to Umma’s killer. Featuring a chorus of ajummas and a healthy dose of revenge, Do It for Ummais an absurd tragicomedy about a young woman trying to gain her mother’s approval and protect her family’s honor in the strangest of circumstances. (Description from Tang (FB Group Theater Folks of Color)
Hamlet by William ShakespeareWe Are Proud to Present... by Jackie Sibblies DruryBoth have plays within the play. A rehearsal for a piece about German colonialist genocide in Namibia becomes all too real.Kia Corthron
Hedda Gabler by Henrik IbsenTHE WIND CRIES MARY by Philip Kan GotandaAsian AmericanLoosely adapted from Hedda GablerKrystle Piamonte (FB group Theatre Folks of Color)
House of Bernard Alba by Federico Garciá LorcaHOUSE THAT WILL NOT STAND by Marcus Gardley or ANOTHER PART OF THE HOUSE by Migdalia CruzStory of a family of free women of color living in New Orleans on the eve of the transfer of power from France to the United States following the Louisiana Purchase (Description from Wilson (FB Group Theater Folks of Color)
House of Bernard Alba by Federico Garciá LorcaShoe by Marisela Treviño OrtaLatinxStifiling and oppressive matriarch. Grown children longing to escape home. SHOE synopsis: In the sixteen years since her father left, Marta has felt trapped in her family's double-wide in Texas. She gave up college and stayed home to take care of her siblings and mother. Just as a secret online relationship reignites Marta's dreams and curiosity about the world outside, her siblings each decide they will do anything it takes to escape their home lives - even if it means leaving Marta behind.Marisela Treviño Orta (FB Group Theater Folks of Color)
Language-driven text monologue or text analysis workFires in the Mirror by Anna Deavere SmithA docudrama originally created and performed by the writer (an African-American woman) from interviews she conducted around a common theme - in this case, race riots in Crown Heights. The play contains casting notes to follow if the material is to be performed by other artists. The play contains characters of multiple, specific races.
Macbeth by William ShakespearePeerless by Jiehae ParkAsian AmericanAsian-American twins M and L have given up everything to get into The College. So when D, a one-sixteenth Native American classmate, gets “their” spot instead, they figure they’ve got only one option: kill him. A darkly comedic take on Shakespeare’s Macbeth about the very ambitious and the cut-throat world of high school during college admissions. (Description from Tang (FB Group Theater Folks of Color)
Medea by EuripidesMojada by Luis AlfaroBased on Medea mythologyJeanette Sanchez-Izenman (FB Group Theater Folks of Color)
Medea by EuripidesThe Hungry Woman: A Mexican Medea by Cherríe MoragaBased on Medea mythologyJeanette Sanchez-Izenman (FB Group Theater Folks of Color)
MelodramaThe Escape, or a Leap for FreedomWritten by an African American abolitionist who was born into slavery, the play has many of the typical characteristics of melodramaPaulette Marty
Moby Dick by Herman MelvilleThe Day We Were Born by Jaisey Bates"Very loose" Indigenous variation dance on Moby Dick (Description from playwright) Available via
Mother Courage by Bertolt BrechtRuined by Lynn NottageAn adaptation of Mother Courage set in Democratic Republic of Congo.Barbie Wu (FB Group Theater Folks of Color)
Much Ado About Nothing by ShakespeareImogen Says Nothing: The Annotated Life of Imogen of Messina, last sighted in the First Folio of William Shakespeare's Much Adoe About Nothing by Aditi Brennan KapilAll the world’s a stage, but in Elizabethan England, all the roles are given to men. Enter Imogen, who seizes a wordless walk-on in Shakespeare’s new comedy and recasts herself in a ferocious real-life leading role. (Description from Yale Rep posting)
Octoroon by Dion BoucicaultAn Octoroon by Branden Jacob JenkinsAn adaptation of Dion Boucicault's The Octoroon (Description from Shin (FB Group Theater Folks of Color)
The Oddessey, by HomerFather Comes Home From the Wars by Suzanne Lori ParksBlackOffered his freedom if he joins his master in the ranks of the Confederacy, Hero, a slave, must choose whether to leave the woman and people he loves for what may be yet another empty promise. As his decision brings him face-to-face with a nation at war with itself, the loved ones Hero left behind debate whether to escape or wait for his return…only to discover that for Hero, free will may have come at a great spiritual cost. Father Comes Home From the Wars is an explosively powerful drama about the mess of war, the cost of freedom, and the heartbreak of love, with all three parts seen in one night. Part 1 introduces us to Hero. In Part 2, a band of rebel soldiers test Hero’s loyalty as the cannons approach. Part 3 finds Hero’s loved ones anxiously awaiting his return.
Leslie Noble
Oedipus or any Greek tragedy you want to analyze through an Aristotelian lensDisgraced by Ayad AkhtarMuslim American (Pakistani heritage)The play closely follows classical Greek tragic structure and works well for applying the Poetics to analyzing a playPaulette Marty
Oedipus Rex by SophoclesOedipus El Rey by Luis AlfaroBased on Oedipus Rex mythologyJeanette Sanchez-Izenman (FB Group Theater Folks of Color)
Oleanna By David MametMingus by Tyler English-BeckwithBlackA student teacher relationship, two hander. With some of the same themes.Diana Burbano (FB Group Theater Folks of Color)
Oleanna By David MametThe Niceties by Eleanor BurgessA two hander with similar themes, exploring the intersection of privilege between two women - one a young Black straight student, the other an older white lesbian professor.Sophie Balaban
Oleanna By David MametDecember by Marisela Treviño OrtaLatinxTwo hander featuring a college professor and her student. Explores power dynamics in their relationship.Marisela Treviño Orta (FB Groupd Theater Folks of Color)
OthelloThe Masks of Othello by Carlyle BrownAfrican Americanracial politics behind historical casting & productions of OthelloGwendolyn Schwinke
Our Town by Thornton WilderCorktown by Jeff AugustinBIPOCSet in a large American city. Mirrors the Stage Manager/Narrator and final scene in a graveyard.David Haugen (
Our Town by Thornton WilderEliot: A Soldier’s Play by Quiara Alegría HudesContemporary approaches to some of of what Wilder does in Our Town. (Description from FB Post in Theater Folks of Color)David Valdez (FB Group Theater Folks of Color)
Our Town by Thornton WilderLandless by Larissa FastHorseNative American/Indigenous/Lakotahistory of a town, told through its citizens;
Our Town by Thornton WilderWater by the Spoonful by Quiara Alegría HudesContemporary approaches to some of of what Wilder does in Our Town. (Description from FB Post in Theater Folks of Color)David Valdez (FB Group Theater Folks of Color)
Pride and Prejudice by Jane AustinNative Pride (and Prejudice) by Vera StarbardA modern adaptation set in an Alaskan village (Description from playwright's website)
Realism- scenework on action, objectives and subtextGruesome Playground Injuries by Rajiv Josefkatie McGerr -
Realism- scenework on action, objectives and subtextStop/Kiss by Diana SonKatie McGerr -
Richard IIITeenage Dick by Mike LewChinese-AmericanChris Albright-Tufts
Richard IIIThe African Company Presents Richard III by Carlyle BrownAfrican Americanopression, politics, creative expressionGwendolyn Schwinke
Richard III by William ShakespeareThe African Company Presents Richard III by Carlyle BrownBlackNew York City, 1821. 40 years before the Civil War, William Henry Brown, a free black American, organizes a production of Shakespeare’s Richard III for a predominantly black audience. But in doing so, Brown challenges the leading producer of New York City, Stephen Price, who has secured the famous English actor Junius Brutus Booth to play Richard III at his Park Theatre. As Brown fights for the right of his company to present Shakespeare, his African Grove Theatre Company fights within their ranks, questioning the appropriation of English drama for African-American actors and the racial implications of such a move. Based on the true story of the first African-American theatre company, Carlyle Brown’s The African Company Presents Richard III carries a timeless message of negotiating racial consciousness in theatre that still resonates for actors and audiences today. (Description from Schwinke
Romeo and Juliet by William ShakespeareI Wanna Fuck Like Romeo and Juliet by Andrew RinconBlack, Latinx, QueerSnow in July, comets falling from the sky, the world is thrown into chaos as Cupid rips off her wings and
gives up on Love. But her old flame Saint Valentine has a plan to bring her spirits back up; and it involves
the relationship between two men, Alejandro and Benny. Moving from outer space to Hackensack NJ, I
Wanna Fuck like Romeo and Juliet is a Queer Love story of epic proportions that investigates God and
mortals, realism and fantasy and the shame and joy within Queer love of Color.
Shea King-
Romeo and Juliet by William ShakespeareThe River Bride by Marisela Treviño OrtaLatinxTragic love story. Heightened language. THE RIVER BRIDE synopsis: Three days before a wedding a handsome and mysterious man is fished from the Amazon River. Set once upon a time in a small Brazilian fishing village, THE RIVER BRIDE is a tale of true love, regret and two sisters who struggle to be true to each other and their hearts.Marisela Treviño Orta (FB Group Theater Folks of Color)
Satire- Political- Scene or text analysis work (i.e. Churchill or Brecht)Gloria by Branden Jacobs-JenkinsAmbition, identity, acts of violence. Jacobs-Jenkins once described his influences as a combination of Caryl Churchill, Sam Shepard, August Wilson and Michael Haneke ( McGerr -
Satire- scene or text analysis workYoga Play by Dipika Guhakatie McGerr -
Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne The Red Letter Plays by Suzan-Lori Parks
Seagull by Anton ChekhovDrowning Crow by Regina TaylorBlackAdaptation of The Seagull to an African-American family gathering in South Carolina.Katie McGerr -
Six Characters in Search of an Author by Luigi PirandelloDreams by Wajdi MouawadPlaywright is Lebanese/French/ CanadianCharacters speaking to an author, writing, creativity. A young man enters a hotel room and spends a sleepless night, jotting words down on paper, the prelude, perhaps, to a novel in the making. Haunted by his imagination and by the characters who appear to him, the writer, slowly but surely, will recognize someone who will complete this world: the Hotelkeeper, a woman who has never been haunted by such questions, but who has suddenly become a victim of fate. (Description from Google Books)Gwendolyn Schwinke -
Stage Door by Ferber & Kaufman and plays about the American theaterTrouble in Mind, by Alice ChildressBlackAs the 1950s draw to a close, a newly integrated theatre company prepares to open a progressive but misguided new play about race relations on Broadway. Lead actress Wiletta Mayer has the opportunity to become the first leading lady of color on the Great White Way, but is she willing to compromise her beliefs to make the career leap? 2011 Arena Stage preview: Leslie Noble,
Stylized scenework that breaks with realism especially through heightened language, existentialism, and visual poetryFefu and her Friends by Maria Irene FornesIntersectional feminism (all-female cast), rethinking audience/performance relationship (scenes are meant to be performed concurrently for rotating groups of audience members); existentialismKatie McGerr -
Taming of the Shrew by William ShakespeareThe Who and The What by Ayad AkhtarMuslimFrom Zarina has a bone to pick with the place of women in her Muslim faith, and she's been writing a book about the Prophet Muhammad that aims to set the record straight. When her traditional father and sister discover the manuscript, it threatens to tear her family apart. With humor and ferocity, Akhtar's incisive new drama about love, art, and religion examines the chasm between our traditions and our contemporary lives.Shea King-
Three Sisters by Anton ChekhovSankalpan by Lina PatelSouth AsianAn often humorous and provocative adaptation of "Three Sisters" set in pre-Partition Bengal. "Sankalpan" ("Desire" in Sanskrit) is a love story set against the backdrop of a changing world. It explores what happens to a family when traditional gender and race and class roles are upended, and the place of women, in particular, is explored as an indicator of what's happening on a larger political/social scale in our society. Jennifer Chang
Three Sisters by Anton ChekhovThree Sisters by Inua EllamsBlack (Nigerian)Adaptation of the play set in 1967 on the brink of the Biafran Civil War.Trent Blanton -
Waiting for Godot by BeckettPass Over by Antoinette NwanduBlack Albright-Tufts
Winter's Tale by William ShakespeareThe Academy by Jaisey Bates"Very loose" Indigenous variation dance on Shakespeare, Inc. especially Winter's Tale (Description from playwright)
Yerma by Federico Garcia LorcaWolf at the Door by Marisela Treviño OrtaLatinxAbusive relationship. One partner desiring a child. One partner killing the other. WOLF AT THE DOOR synopsis: Isadora finds the strength to stand up to her abusive husband Septimo when he forces the very pregnant Yolot to stay against her will. While Septimo makes plans for the baby, Isadora and Yolot devise one of their own. And as a pack of wolves closes in on the hacienda, Isadora must decide what price she’ll pay for her own freedom.Marisela Treviño Orta (FB Group Theater Folks of Color)