Citizen: An American Lyric

Theater Studies Fall Mainstage Production

"Citizen: An American Lyric"
book by Claudia Rankine
adapted for the stage by Stephen Sachs
directed by JaMeeka Holloway-Burrell
To reserve a virtual seat:

Content Warning 
For your consideration, CITIZEN includes racially charged language and video, and instances of potentially unsettling noises.

A stage adaptation of the internationally acclaimed and award-winning book of poetry/prose by Claudia Rankine about race in America. CITIZEN is a fast moving, emotionally charged, and thought-provoking piece of art that combines live theater, music, movement, and video imagery to track the progression of microaggressions to overt acts of racial violence by white Americans against Black American “Citizens."

Why this Play Now? 
We are in the middle of a revolution. From the countless deaths of Black people due to the systemic racism that bleeds into every inch of American culture to the water that is still not clean in Flint, Michigan, to the ongoing pandemic that touches every bit of our lives, we are facing unprecedented times. 

"Citizen: An American Lyric" is a multimedia experience that touches on the cycles we find ourselves in and examines—through personal stories, national headlines, and natural disasters—the physical, emotional, and mental toll racism takes on the bodies of Black and Brown people. The play, adapted from Claudia Rankine’s National Book Award-winning collection of poetry by the same name, weaves in and out of a dreamlike fugue, only to thrust audiences against the harsh white background that is reality. It allows the audience and performers to confront internalized racism as a fact of our everyday American lives, challenging us to face it head on. 

This play is a starting point, and a call to action. The real, meaningful work of striving towards an anti-racist society is a long and difficult road, a marathon and not a sprint. As long as we can acknowledge where we came from, it is the dream that the past will not continue to repeat itself. 

Thursday, November 5 @7:30pm
Friday, November 6 @ 7:30pm
Saturday, November 7 @ 7:30pm


This event will be presented to a virtual audience via Vimeo. Patrons will receive access instructions 1 day prior. 
To reserve your space and to receive a link to your virtual seat, please visit:


Friday, November 6 at 7:00pm
Director JaMeeka Holloway-Burrell; dramaturge, Phaedra Scott; and Professor Tsitsi Jaji (English Department and African & African American Studies) will discuss why CITIZEN is important and the nature of directing in the Zoom era. 


Saturday, November 7 immediately following virtual curtain
Director JaMeeka Holloway-Burrell and the cast will take questions from the audience. 


Citizen 1: Johanna Rose Burwell
Citizen 2: Lauren Foster-Lee
Citizen 3: Serah Ashby
Citizen 4: Trevor Johnson
Citizen 5: Samantha Streit
Citizen 6: Oliver McCarthy


Director: JaMeeka Holloway-Burrell                                                                                           
Assistant Director: Emi Hegarty                                                                                                  
Dramaturg: Phaedra Michelle Scott                                                                                            
Scenic Design: Torry Bend                                                                                                          
Location Scout/Production Design: Ashley Jeffers                                                                   
Costume Design: Erin West
Assistant Costume Design: Mila de Souza
Light Design: Arthur Reese
Projection Design: Sandah Espii Proctor
Sound Design: Tojo Rasedoara


Director of Theater Studies/Stage Manager: Thomas Quintas
Theater Operations Production Manager: Richard Kless
Theater Operations Senior Director: Marcy Edenfield
Box Office Director: Jessica Reveal
Director of Photography: Austin Powers