Beaufield Berry

IN THE UPPER ROOM

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IN THE UPPER ROOM

By Beaufield Berry

A play about family secrets, gossip, colorism, voodoo and the magic of the stories we grow up hearing.

Meet the Berrys, a multi-generational Black family living under one roof in the 1970s. Their lives orbit around Rose, a strong-willed matriarch whose superstitions and secrets drive her relatives nuts. Through pointed wit and playful sarcasm, the family elders share fantastical stories about their collective past that call into question the family hierarchy and inspire the youngest generation to take pride in their heritage (and physical appearance). Tender, comedic conversations between tight-knit relatives are interspersed with moments of intense drama that mirror the internal conflicts every family must face at some point.

Loyalty, spirituality and colorism are all at play in this dramatic dark comedy, based on the real family history of playwright and novelist Beaufield Berry.

Production Notes

CASTING:

An 8 person cast of African-American actors. No doubling.

ROSE-Dark skinned. 50's. A Mahalia Jackson type. Raised old school in a modern world.

EDDIE-Any shade. 50's. A quiet, hard working, mild-mannered family man.

JANET-Light skinned. 30's. A strong voice, matter of fact, stoic.

JOHN-Any shade. 30's. A boisterous story-teller, with a charismatic way.

JOSEPHINE-Dark skinned. Teen. A book smart girl under the shadow of her Grandmother.

YVETTE-Light skinned. Teen. A fun loving girl under the doting wing of her Grandmother.

JACKIE and DELORES. Any Shade. 50's+. Two gossiping aunts.

Place: Omaha, Nebraska

Time: 1974 


Author

 Beaufield Berry is a Midwest-based playwright, novelist, and arts education professional. Her work specifically takes on the drama, history and joy of the Black Diaspora and often includes magical surrealism, musical, and mixed-media components. Beaufield's adventurous work has been performed across the country and in multiple conferences, including the Great Plains Theater Conference, Philadelphia Sparkfest, Manhattan Rep, and Colorado New Play Summit. She has served as a guest artist with Inge Fest in Independence, Kansas, and on several panels and boards. Beaufield is currently the Resident Playwright at Creighton University in Omaha. Her most recent production, In the Upper Room (2018 O'Neill finalist), was produced at the Denver Performing Arts Center in February 2022. Upper Room, directed by Gregg T. Daniel (w/ dramaturg Regina Victor, scenic designer Efren Delgadillo, Jr.), received rave reviews. ... [FULL BIO]