“I write to provoke dialogue and to transform how we think about what it means to live and breathe in the world.”
Acclaimed author and poet Claudia Rankine (Citizen: An American Lyric) examines the nature of white male privilege in her new theatrical work Help, directed by Obie Award-winner Taibi Magar (Is God Is, Soho Rep).
Help stars Roslyn Ruff (Theater: Fairview; Film: Marriage Story; TV: Divorce, Pose) as the narrator, embodying Rankine’s own experience, who reckons with white men she encounters in transitional, liminal spaces like airports and airplanes, asking them exactly what they think of their privilege. Tracking how these conversations go right or wrong, or lead to further discussions, Help centers whiteness in order to engage it.
Rankine’s past work, for which she has been awarded MacArthur and Guggenheim fellowships among other awards, crosses lyric poetry and prose essay to navigate questions of race, healthcare, loneliness, and what it means for a life to matter in American society today. The newly commissioned script for Help derives from Rankine’s own deep inquiry and ongoing investigation into white male privilege, elements of which were shared in her recent, widely read New York Times Magazine essay, “I Wanted to Know What White Men Thought About Their Privilege. So I Asked.”