All Articles
June 30, 2021

Read More Plays Club: What to Send Up When it Goes Down


The Concord Theatricals Read More Plays Club focuses on recognizing select Concord Theatricals plays as important works of literature, uniting theatre lovers and creating a digital space dedicated to celebrating great artists, good conversation and plays on the page.

Each club session features a fantastic Concord Theatricals title and artists connected to the work in an hour-long candid discussion around the creation and history of the play. Readers have a chance to engage with the artist and learn more about their motivations, their creative process, and the work itself.

For our fourth session, on Tuesday, June 29, 2021, we read and discussed…

What to Send Up When it Goes Down (US/UK)

What to Send Up When it Goes Down (US/UK)
(Full-Length Play, Drama)

As lines between characters and actors – as well as observers and observed – blur, What to Send Up When it Goes Down is a community ritual created in response to the deaths of Black people as a result of racialized violence. Structured in a series of vignettes, the piece builds to a climactic moment in which performance and reality collide, highlighting the absurdity of anti-Blackness in our society. Through facilitation and dialogue, Harris’ play explores how to cope, resist, and move forward.

What to Send Up When it Goes Down (US/UK) also has a virtual extension where “people can honor those lost to anti-Black violence, send love letters of hope and affirmation to Black people and access additional resources related to communal healing and social justice.” This virtual space includes a Living Memorial, Love Letters to Black People, and Additional Resources where you can build your own ritual. 

Watch the full session below!


Aleshea Harris’s play Is God Is (directed by Taibi Magar at Soho Rep) won the 2016 Relentless Award, an OBIE Award for playwriting in 2017, the Helen Merrill Playwriting Award in 2019 and was a finalist for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize.

What to Send Up When it Goes Down (directed by Whitney White, produced by The Movement Theatre Company), a play-pageant-ritual response to anti-Blackness, had its critically acclaimed NYC premiere in 2018, was featured in the April 2019 issue of American Theatre Magazine, and received a rare special commendation from the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize. The play will be remounted at BAM and Playwrights Horizons in the summer and fall of 2021.

Harris was awarded a Windham-Campbell Literary Prize and the Mimi Steinberg Playwriting Award in 2020 and the Hermitage Greenfield Prize in 2021. She has performed her own work at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Orlando Fringe Festival, REDCAT, as part of La Fête du Livre at La Comèdie de Saint-Étienne and at the Skirball Center in Los Angeles. Harris is a two-time MacDowell Fellow and has enjoyed residencies at the Hermitage Artist Retreat, Hedgebrook and Djerassi.

Whitney White is an Obie Award and Lilly Award winning director, actor, and musician based in Brooklyn, New York. She is the current recipient of the Susan Stroman Directing award, an Artistic Associate at the Roundabout, and a part of the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative. Her original musical  Definition was part of the 2019 Sundance Theatre Lab 2016 ANT Fest, and her five-part musical exploration of Shakespeare’s Women and ambition; Reach for It is currently under commission with the American Repertory Theater in Boston.

She has developed work with: The New York Times, Ars Nova, The Drama League, Roundabout, New York Theatre Workshop, 59E59, The Lark, The Movement, Jack, Bard College, NYU Tisch, Juilliard, Princeton, SUNY Purchase, South Oxford, Luna Stage and more. 

Whitney is a believer in collaborative  processes and new forms. Her musical discipline is rooted in indie-soul, and rock. She is passionate about black stories, reconstructing classics, stories for and about women, genre-defying multimedia work and film. Past fellowships include: New York Theatre Workshop 2050 Fellowship, Ars Nova’s Makers Lab, Colt Coeur and the Drama League. MFA Acting: Brown University/Trinity Rep, BA Political Science, Certificate in Musical Theatre: Northwestern University.

To register for the next session of the Concord Theatricals Read More Plays Club, click here.