New play from Essential Theatre to mark third anniversary of George Floyd’s death

On May 30 the company's Women's Works Program premieres 'Dissonance'—a two-woman play about race, love, friendship, and the impact of Floyd's murder.

Commemorating the third anniversary of the 2020 murder of George Floyd, the Essential Theatre’s Women’s Works Program will present the Washington, DC, premiere of Dissonance by Marci J. Duncan in collaboration with Kerry Sandell and directed by James Webb. Dissonance is a two-woman play about race, love, and friendship.

Angela (played by Duncan) and Lauren (played by Sandell) have been friends for more than 20 years. They met in graduate school, became godmothers to each other’s children, and are now starting a new business. As they open their cafe in a historic Black neighborhood targeted for urban renewal at Belmont and DeVillers Street in Pensacola, Florida, they uncover deeply held perceptions that threaten to dismantle their friendship. The play is a heartwarming conversation that explores the international hurt following George Floyd’s murder and how it impacts both these Black and white American women. Can a friendship survive the brutal honesty of differing experiences?

Kerry Sandell as Lauren and Marci J. Duncan as Angela in ‘Dissonance.’ Photo courtesy of Artists at Play.

A production of Artists at Play and generously supported by the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, Dissonance will run in a limited engagement from May 30 through June 11, 2023, Tuesdays through Thursdays and Sundays at 7 pm, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 pm with Saturday and Sunday matinees at 4 pm in the Anacostia Arts Center’s black box theater, 1231 Good Hope Road SE, Washington, DC.

“It’s no coincidence that we will open this performance run five days after the anniversary date of May 25 when George Floyd was murdered,” explains Founder/Artistic Director S. Robert Morgan. “We do this to remember the senseless act that prompted a seminal response that was in fact global. I don’t think we’ve seen anything like that in our lifetime.” There will be online and in-person commemorative activities hosted prior to the opening and during the performance’s run. For tickets and more info, visit or call (202) 967-6178.

The Women’s Works Program is created to celebrate, investigate, and cultivate work for, by, and about women. As a means of reaching its target demographic, women aged 25 through 65, the Essential Theatre endeavors to present one of its productions each year that is solely dedicated to women’s issues. It is a priority for the company to reach out to women of all socio-economic backgrounds through this program as it celebrates the triumphs and travails of women around the world.

The Essential Theatre is a nonprofit professional theater dedicated, but not limited, to producing theater reflective of the African American experience that explores and celebrates America’s rich, diverse cultural landscape. Paramount to the company’s mission is the implementation of programs for youth in the Washington, DC, metropolitan area that promote interdisciplinary education and positive self-esteem. Founded in 1989, the company hosts a play-development program, The Essential Theatre’s New Play Reading Series, the Children’s Program in Public Schools/Young Audiences, and the Women’s Works Program. The company also maintains relationships with area social services programs to provide job-training opportunities.


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