To me, William Inge’s romantic masterwork PICNIC is a potent mix of deeply human juxtapositions—love and family, morality and longing, fortune and desperation, idealism and reality, frailty and resilience, fear and courage, prejudice and acceptance, small towns and big cities—Essentially, it’s about America.
I was eager to tell a story about America—an idea still struggling to live up to its promise, searching for its soul. To me, it seemed that the American story was deeply embedded in the Black American experience. A country built largely on the skills and forced labor of its generationally deep residents.
I wasn’t sure if it would work, I was loathed to change a word of text, but it turned out, not a single word needed to be adjusted. The play, in the hands of a black cast, rang like a bell. Rather than narrowing the scope, it only expanded the scope of the story of America, inviting us to celebrate how unique and similar our human experiences are.
This sweet story of innocence, explores the enormous question of identity; identity of self and the Country we live in.