Bill Posley’s new one-man play, The Day I Became Black, deals with racial identity and racism in America. However, the heart of his message lies in radical empathy. Posley wants us to be able to look at each other with understanding-sometimes literally as he asks the audience to find someone who doesn’t look like themselves and stare at that person. The central premise of the show is the day Posley realized the world saw him as black. What he wants everyone to know is that he isn’t a special case- the world decides who you are for you.
(A viewing room at a funeral home. An open coffin, subdued lighting. Enter DAVID, age 44. He approaches coffin with trepidation. He comes to at ease by degrees. Finally………)
Well. Well well. Just look at you. All decked out in your astronaut’s garb. Dressed to kill, aren’t you? Was this how you planned it? To do your exit as a starman? It does become you, you know. Really, it does. So tell me, are you braced for tomorrow? Have you dialed in your humble mode? You know they’ll be sending you out as only the Air Force can. Full military honors. A flyover with the missing wingman. And they’ll retell how one time you flew so high, you clipped the chinwhiskers of Zeus himself. And they’ll retell how you throttled that demon out at mach seven. Yes yes, I know it’s all true, but remember, the order of the day is humility. They’ll want to see your aw shucks side. Not funny? Sorry. I’m trying to be clever. Guess I’m not very good at clever.