Welcome to the latest puzzle in my ongoing series, Eyes Open, inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement and other civil rights protests.
The topics that inspire Eyes Open puzzles are often infuriating or heartbreaking. We try to discuss topics that demand greater attention and analysis, which sometimes demands we mire ourselves in terrible circumstances, even as we shed light on lives ended too soon or important events swept under the rug by history or biased historians.
But, sometimes, we get to focus on topics that inspire us, that warm our hearts, that make us turn our gazes outward and forward with optimism. Inventors, trailblazers, and the brave motivated individuals who fight for human rights have all appeared in some of our puzzles.
One of the key communities we have neglected to highlight is the art community, and that’s unfortunate. The arts can discuss so many of these important topics in fascinating, evocative, and spellbinding ways. And nowhere is this truer than on the stage.
For decades upon decades, playwrights have challenged the status quo and forced audiences to ask tough questions of themselves (and face harder truths). These wonderful microcosms of society tell rich, nuanced stories that reflect the world at large, investing viewers not only in the characters, but in the families, groups, and political and social movements they represent.
The stage is a cultural battleground, capable of enacting great change in both minds and hearts.
And this fall, as audiences return to Broadway, they will find more Black voices than ever represented in the plays awaiting them.
Black playwrights wrote every new play that will be featured on Broadway this fall. Five of these seven plays will open for the very first time, and many of these works will be brought to the stage by not only actors of color, but directors as well.
Representation is so vitally important to helping change not only the narrative of our world, but the structure of it as well, and to see what is traditionally known as The Great White Way being influenced and shaped by Black voices fills my heart with warmth. As a theater kid who knows just how deeply affecting stage performances can be, I hope audiences will embrace these stories — and those who tell them — with open arms.
I hope this puzzle serves to engage you as a solver and encourage you to learn more about playwrights of color and other theatrical works that tell the stories of underrepresented groups. For more information about these plays, please click this link.
[Click this link to download a PDF of this puzzle.]
If you have suggestions for more topics for me to cover in future puzzles, please let me know. If you’re a person of color and you’d like to share a puzzle of your own, or to collaborate with me on a puzzle, please let me know.
If you’re a member of the LGBTQ community, and you have ideas, please let me know. If you’re a trans person, or a non-binary individual, and you feel underrepresented in puzzles, please let me know.
I would like this to become something bigger, but hopefully, this is at the very least a start.
Thank you for reading. Thank you for standing up, speaking up, and fighting the good fight.
Support LGBTQIA+ people.
Black lives matter.
AAPI lives matter.