Below is a link to a recorded interview produced by Think Out Loud, a weekly program from Oregon Public Broadcasting, featuring Kevin Jones, co-founder and Artistic Director of the August Wilson Red Door Project, and Portland Police Deputy Chief Robert Day. They are discussing the Red Door Project’s new production, called Cop Out, which is a series of monologues based on playwrights’ interviews with police officers. Cop Out is currently in previews and will have it’s world premiere November 30th through December 2nd at Self Enhancement, Inc., in Portland.
The monologues in Cop Out depict stories of police officers of varied rank, experience, race and gender, as they interact with each other, their families, the institutions they represent, and the community they are sworn to protect and serve. Cop Out is the next step in a journey that began with the Red Door’s previous production of The New Black Fest’s Hands Up: 7 Playwrights, 7 Testaments. Hands Up depicts seven stories of African American’s dealing with police profiling in the wake of Mike Brown’s death in Ferguson, MO.
In this interview, the host Dave Miller explores how the collaboration, and ultimately friendship, between Kevin Jones and Bob Day began, and some the difficulties that had to be bridged due to their vastly different backgrounds and perspectives on policing and the African-American experience.
The August Wilson Red Door Project’s mission is to change the racial ecology of Portland through the arts. Established in 2011, the Red Door helps sustain the legacy and ethos of August Wilson, a Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright who depicted the 20th Century American experience from an African-American viewpoint in a way that is compelling to broad audiences. Taking inspiration from his life and work, the Red Door shares this poignant quote:
“Confront the dark parts of yourself, and work to banish them with illumination and forgiveness. Your willingness to wrestle with your demons will cause your angels to sing. Use the pain as fuel, as a reminder of your strength.” – August Wilson
Kevin Jones, co-founder and Artistic Director of the Red Door Project, is an award-winning actor and director, and a communication, organization, and diversity consultant for businesses, theaters and non-profits.
Contributed by Bill Denham and Kim Vanderheiden with help from staff at the August Wilson Red Door Project.