Welcome to Spotlight Play. Letter of Burgundy by Kirk Shimano is a comic retelling of the classic novel The Scarlet Letter, set in a high school and reframed for a digital age.
In an online community, Hester90 is publicly shamed and shunned for a racial slur against another student, but refuses to name her cohort in the hateful conversation. RoChi wants the conspirator found out and humiliated. Climate_Dale wants everyone to come to his annual Earth Day address.
How do we strike a balance between holding individuals accountable while having compassion for those who apologize for their mistakes?
Why did I publish this piece?
We love adaptations here at Theatrefolk and Letter of Burgundy is an excellent example. It is a comic retelling of the classic novel The scarlet letter set in a high school and reimagined for a digital age. There’s a lot to explore about how public shaming works in social media today, and this piece offers so much in terms of the conversation about how we can strike a balance between holding individuals accountable for what they say, while also having compassion for those who apologize for them. mistakes. Add to that, we love complex teenage characters and this play has so many wonderful roles played by student actors! This piece may be named after our favorite character of all time: .
Let’s hear from the author!
1. Why did you write this piece?
There are many ways in which the challenges of navigating social media are completely unprecedented, but at the end of the day we’re all still human beings just trying to share our lives together. I thought using a classic story as a way to explore a modern phenomenon would be a fun way to build an old perspective on a new problem.
2. Describe the theme in one or two sentences.
This is a story about mistakes and forgiveness. How do we hold people accountable for their actions while leaving room for someone to grow?
3. What is the most important visual material for you in this piece?
Every action in this piece revolves around Hester90 standing in front of the monitor declaring “SHAME” while carrying her burgundy letter.
4. If you could give one piece of advice to those producing the piece, what would it be?
Nothing in this story is a simple case of good versus evil. When we get into arguments on the internet, it can be so easy to take sides and lose sight of the gray areas. Every character in this play should have an opportunity to connect with the audience.
5. Why is this play great for student performers?
I think they will be able to find the events in this play directly related to their own experiences and bring their own perspectives to the telling of this story. I hope their generation will be the one to teach the rest of us how to coexist harmoniously online, and I think this piece will help them continue the conversation.
6. Do you have any advice for people who want to play this game online or socially distanced?
It’s a story that takes place entirely online, so I encourage them to be creative in thinking about how an online medium can be used to enhance that story!
Get your copy a Letter of Burgundy right here right now!
Not right for your group right now? Search our catalog of games to find one your performers will love!
Want to learn more about our newest pieces, resources, and giveaways?
Get on our list!