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Part 1: A Difference in Perspective

Part 2: The Story of CopOut

KEVIN JONES: Cop Out is a series of monologues written by, for, and with police officers— real life stories. We had toured a show called Hands Up, a 90-minute show telling the stories of African-Americans and their experience with police profiling.

SHEPSU AAKHU: We wanted to give an opportunity to try to balance that equation so that we could create a dialogue. So what does it look like for police officers?

KEVIN JONES: We brought in nine writers to work on the scripts, along with professional actors and directors .

SHEPSU AAKHU: Let’s read everything, let’s figure out what we have, let’s figure out if what we have works, then let’s figure out why it works. And then let’s figure out how we can make it better.

SHEPSU AAKHU: If you look at the idea of the play, what you’re really looking at is passion. And those passions, they’re nested in point of view : Who am I? How do I see the world? And most of us are terribly resistant to the notion that there’s more than one way to look at something.

KEVIN JONES: The thing that’s really struck me is the general public’s reaction to the work that we’re doing—A lot of people feel that we shouldn’t be doing it …

SHEPSU AAKHU: So my job is to figure out how to put together all of these different writers and arrange them in a way that gives us a window into the lives of these officers in a way that allows us to lower our barriers enough just to hear them, so that we can get this work done.

KEVIN JONES: As an African-American, for me, telling the stories of police officers is a personal venture for me — I want to heal, I want to hear the truth as opposed to the stories that I had running in my head.

SHEPSU AAKHU: Communication is everything. The moment we’re not communicating is the moment that things escalate and danger continues. Literally, as a Black person in America, that is the last thing I want to happen. What I really hope for is that there’s engagement, that people that are listening actually care enough to lean in, and that in that we can make a commitment to keep talking.

KEVIN JONES: This is an opportunity for me—and I do believe for the rest of us—to heal and move on and start to have a different kind of conversation. I think we have a great show.

Part 3: The Show

Cop Out: Beyond Black, White & Blue

Directed by Kevin Jones
Co-directed by Damaris Webb and Phil Johnson

No tickets available
at this time

The Red Door Project presents Cop Out: Beyond Black, White & Blue—a series of monologues the Red Door developed in conversation with Hands Up: 7 Playwrights, 7 Testaments.

Cop Out is a series of monologues based on interviews with law enforcement officers. Written by writers from across the country, the monologues depict cops of all ranks and experience as they interact with the community, each other, their families, and the institutions they represent.

DIRECTOR’S NOTES

The night I saw Andres Segovia in concert at the age of 14, I was lit up by the idea of pursuing a life as a classical guitarist. 15 minutes after leaving Carnegie Hall I was thrown against the hood of a police squad car and held at gunpoint. The officers who surrounded me that night didn’t know me as a classical guitarist. That night, I was cast as a criminal. Since then I found a way to flip that power dynamic: acting.

Acting allowed me to be anything, regardless of how I was perceived in the “real world.” As I honed my craft, I saw that when I stepped inside another person’s experience, my consciousness changed. Whether or not I agreed with what that character did and said, I had to make myself willing to listen to them. And when I listened, I changed. Once I witnessed that it was possible to change my own thinking – to even humanize people like the ones who had dehumanized me when I was 14 years old – I was no longer willing to believe that oppression was an immovable object.

My hope for you is that you leave this performance with the knowledge that oppression IS NOT an immovable object, and the way to move it is by reaching for one another. It is through the telling and the hearing of stories that we can understand and even appreciate the similarities in who we are, and become connected as human beings.

Kevin Jones

DRAMATURG’S NOTES

Last fall I was invited to join an amazing collection of artists in exploring the lives and struggles of law enforcement officers. I accepted the work without fully understanding the journey I was undertaking. Through interviews, and writer’s workshops I found myself wrestling with how to tell the stories of police officers and still validate the real-life experiences I have as a Black male with difficult histories of my own with law enforcement. To be honest, I am still not completely comfortable with police officers, and being in the presence of anyone who is “armed” remains unnerving.

Still, in the face of these professional and personal challenges, I have come to understand that this work – this platform – it is vitally important. With it we have a window into a hidden world. A world otherwise inaccessible to the general public. With this work, we have an opportunity to validate our experiences on both sides of the “thin blue line.”

Shepsu Aakhu

PRODUCTION TEAM

Kevin JonesArtistic Director
Shepsu AakhuDramaturg
William GeboProduction Manager
Amy Tyler-HanlonProduction Coordinator
Damaris WebbCo-Director
Phil JohnsonCo-Director & Sound Designer
Corey McCareyStage Manager
Kyra SanfordScenic Designer & Technical Director
Joe SpinogattiLighting & Projections Designer
Bobby Brewer-WallinCostume Designer
Allison JohnsonAsst. Costume Designer
Ben Serreau-RaskinAsst. Technical Director
Louanne MoldovaWorkshop Coordinator

*Appearing through an Agreement between this theatre, The Red Door Project, and Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States

CAST LIST (Subject to change)

Joseph Gibson*Locked and Loaded
by Shepsu Aakhu
Christopher Hirsh*Full Stop
by Bonnie Ratner
Andrea WhiteI Will Always Be Both
by Harrison David Rivers
Victoria Alvarez-ChaconSo I Was Driving Along…
by Andrea Stolowitz
Bryant Bentley*Happy Birthday Officer Hughes
by J. Nicole Brooks
Joseph Peréz BertótBadge Number
by Ben Watkins
Bryant Bentley*Place Your Hands on Your Head in Holy City
by J. Nicole Brooks
Julana Torres*The PSA
by Shepsu Aakhu

*Appearing through an Agreement between this theatre, The Red Door Project, and Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States

THANK YOU TO OUR MAJOR SUPPORTERS

Ronni Lacroute

Dan & Priscilla Wieden



Regional Arts and Culture Council logo
Umpqua bank logo

THANK YOU TO OUR PARTNERS AND HOSTS

The following organizations have been instrumental in bringing Cop Out to the community. We are deeply grateful for their partnership and support.

Artists Repertory Theatre

The Hollywood Theatre

NW Documentary

Portland’5 Centers for the Arts

Self Enhancement Inc.

A SPECIAL THANK YOU TO OUR VOLUNTEERS

Part 4: What's Next?

I want to…

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Learn more about Cop Out and the issues that drive it.

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