Play explores race, family

BLUE HILL — “Appropriate,” a play by Pulitzer Prize finalist Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, will be performed on New Surry Theatre’s virtual stage at 7 p.m. Friday-Saturday, Sept. 18-19, and Friday-Saturday, Sept. 25-26.

Winner of the 2014-15 Obie Award for Best New American Play, “Appropriate,” Jacobs-Jenkins’ play follows the death of the estranged Lafayette family’s hoarder patriarch. Family members return ostensibly to settle his estate and sort through the chaos left behind but find themselves faced with a contentious discovery. The dysfunctional reunion takes a turn for the worse as deep resentments emerge and old, sometimes disturbing family secrets are revealed.

Directed by NST’s Executive Director Lori Sitzabee, with Randall Simons as assistant director, “Appropriate” stars Vanessa Hawkins, Dade Hawkins, Hugh Abbott, Erin McCormick, Maya Maloskey, Bixby Hawkins, Christopher Raymond and Magnolia Vandiver.

“’Appropriate’ is piercingly clear, with carefully drawn characters who speak in crisp and fluid dialogue. [Jacobs-Jenkins] enjoys his quarrelsome characters, and he has achieved the difficult feat of making them all both unlovable and impossible not to identify with…remarkable and devious,” wrote Ben Brantley in a 2014 New York Times review.

In “Appropriate,” Sitzabee says Jacobs-Jenkins demonstrates the lingering effects of America’s wrongdoings through a white family. She says NST “stands with the Black community and we are committed to deeply examining ways in which we participate in perpetuating white supremacy and ways we can support anti-racist work.

“We also want to acknowledge the tremendous contribution people of color have made and continue to make to the performing arts, as well as the contribution of Black trans/queer people to the rights of the LGBTQ+ community. We are indebted to their sacrifices.”

“Appropriate” will be live-streamed via the online conferencing platform Zoom. To purchase tickets, visit

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