I started writing RADIAL GRADIENT in 2019, as a junior in college. At the time, I was facing social consequences in response to deactivating from Greek Life the year before. As I was grappling with how I behaved and what I did and didn’t do, I had trouble maintaining relationships with those who continued to be part of the organization.
So many elements of Greek Life are inherently theatrical – the costumes, the ceremonies, the casting process – it’s all giving theatre. The 2017 timeline explores the absurdity of “Rush” or Recruitment while indicating assimilation as a type of identity theft. The 2020 timeline is very much informed by my observed experiences within my PWI’s theatre department, as well as institutional power and academia at large.
Cognitive dissonance is a tricky mistress, especially when you’re a freshman in college. You’re still learning social dynamics and how to speak up for yourself and what you believe in and who you are and who you want to be and blah blah blah. This naturally creates too much room for inconsistency between words and actions. In the play, we see that show up a lot between Anjani and Gigi. Their friendship love story revolves around the two recognizing their positionality in the world at different rates. And for Melanie, how else can she exist and persist in this institution without turning a blind eye to some aspects of it? Cognitive dissonance could have been the title of the play, but if you’re reading this, it’s too late to change the title.
Over the pandemic, I started looking at these characters in a different way. Melanie and Gigi both share this “fix it from the inside” mentality, which we could fault all day. I empathize with these specific students of color in PWIs, who go out of their way to try and make the institution better for those who come after. Young people doing their best, with the intention to leave somewhere better than they found it, is something worth recognizing. And hopefully, it makes a good play.
RADIAL GRADIENT has brought incredible collaborators into my life. Very rarely do I get to be in the company of this many women, let alone, women of color, and make theatre. This is a play that has facilitated community, and building community is something I’m passionate about. I hope you walk away seeing yourself onstage. I hope you see yourself as an Anjani, a Gigi, a Melanie. I hope you’re learning to leave spaces better than you found them. I hope you think that it’s never too late to figure out how to be sorry and still be together.
– Jasmine Sharma, Playwright
It is both new and extremely important to us at Shattered Globe to lead with stories from historically marginalized communities in our productions. We would like to acknowledge the space we are taking is on stolen and exploited land and invite our audiences to join us in considering how to best use our time and resources to dismantle both new and historic systems of oppression.
Devonte Washington, Lavina Jadhwani, Charles Smith, Nate Santana, Andrea J. Dymond, Aila Ayilam Peck, Linda Reiter, Tina Muñoz Pandya, Ayanna Wimberly, Theater Wit, Centerstage Productions of IL Inc, and The Saints.
About Shattered Globe Theatre
Shattered Globe Theatre (Sandy Shinner, Producing Artistic Director) was born in a storefront space on Halsted Street in 1991. Since then, SGT has produced more than 80 plays, including nine American and world premieres, and garnered an impressive 42 Jeff Awards and 107 Jeff Award nominations, as well as the acclaim of critics and audiences alike.
Shattered Globe Theatre seeks to discover new connections between story, artist and audience by exploring drama from bold, challenging perspectives, and continuously redefining what it means to be an ensemble theatre.
SGT’s values are rooted in a commitment to racial equity, respect for all artists and support for the ensemble, while creating new opportunities to amplify traditionally marginalized voices and collaborate in all aspects of our work. Through initiatives such as the Protégé Program, Shattered Globe creates a space which allows emerging artists to grow and share in the ensemble experience.
The work you see on and off the stage would not be possible without the invaluable contributions from civic-minded foundations and individuals who believe in the necessity of supporting the arts. Shattered Globe extends a heartfelt thanks to everyone who has donated time and resources to our theatre.
Shattered Globe Theatre is partially supported and funded by generous grants from The Shulman-Rochambeau Charitable Foundation, The James P. and Brenda S. Grusecki Family Foundation, Bayless Family Foundation, The Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, The MacArthur Fund for Arts & Culture at The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, the Paul M. Angell Family Foundation, a CityArts Grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, the Illinois Arts Council, The Shubert Foundation, the Chicago Community Foundation, and The Saints.
SGT also values the continued support of Dr. Len and Cheryl Cerullo and family in loving memory of Katie Cerullo as well as the generosity of Dan and Claudia Cyganowski in memory of Carol Klimick Cyganowski, scholar and passionate supporter of Chicago Theatre.
Learn About Theater Wit
Shattered Globe Theatre is partially supported and funded by generous grants from The Bayless Family Foundation, The Shulman-Rochambeau Charitable Foundation, Brenda and James Grusecki, Carol P. Eastin, a CityArts Grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, the Paul M. Angell Family Foundation, The Shubert Foundation, The MacArthur Fund for Arts & Culture at The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, Daniel Cyganowski, The Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, the Illinois Arts Council, and The Saints.