© 2023 by Celeste Jennings

Citrus will be performed at Northern Stage Theatre in February/March 2020

Citrus is a choreopoem, or production composed of dance, poetry, and song, that follows emotional journeys of tribulation, struggle, and resilience among Black women from 1840 to the present day. The choreopoem, composed as an ensemble piece, is stitched together with 21 poems that address intersectionality and oppression experienced by Black women. The costumes, as well as the characters’ practice of rhythmically dressing and undressing onstage,  aid in contextualizing these overarching themes. The choreopoem displays timeless issues such as sexual abuse, sexism, racism and unrequited love as well as specific historical accounts such as the passing of the Fifteenth Amendment, the story of the Little Rock Nine, and the strife associated with the Black Lives Matter movement. This wide-ranging breath of stories defies the traditional form of Western plays and lacks a linear structure or representation of a singular experience. Citrus uses overlapping genres that are meant to inform, yet strategically entertain audiences. To uphold these aims, the nine characters all have equal amount of speaking parts and perform fluid characters that are meant to be diversely interpreted by the audience as well as by the performers. This writing ploy pulls focus to the individual narratives and subverts the idea that the show entirely represents the plight of all Black women. Citrus is an homage to Black women of the past, present, and future, and the heart of the play not only gently presents, but also sternly highlights the urgency and beauty between Black women across generations.

Citrus was produced at Dartmouth College in May 2018.