An excerpt from Jay Mazyck’s “If Men Were Flowers,” now streaming on ALL ARTS as part of “House Seats: The Fire This Time Festival”
My name is Jay Mazyck. The piece I wrote is called “If Men Were Flowers.” Here is a short excerpt of the script:
TERRENCE: Please don’t leave us here Ms. Dalia! I can’t be stuck here with these sociopaths. They drive me crazy. The fat one sings off-key every morning. The gay one is a whore. And the hotep keeps shouting negro conspiracies like they’re work songs.
DALIA: Don’t worry. I’m not leaving you. I’m taking you with me. I just had to find a new place because–
SHAKIR: What happened to Malcom? And Oscar? And Tamir?
They don’t get to see the promised land?
DALIA: Well they died Shakir!
LEROY: They were young though.
DALIA: Young things die…sometimes.
This soil here it ain’t getting better. It’s drying up real fast. I think the sun too hot here or maybe some germ colonized it.
But it’s salted.
Ain’t no place for a plant to be.
So I bought a new place. Where the soil is a little softer. The sun is a little less bright. Where no germs can touch you. And hopefully life there can continue.
But right now we gotta go before this earth take y’all too.
LEROY: And what about me?
LEROY: Who’s gonna move me?
DALIA: You strong enough to stay. But they can’t. I’m grateful for you really but–
LEROY: I get it.
DALIA: Your roots just run too deep.
From the playwright:
I always thought how sad it was to not see the fruits of your labor. I think of King, I think of Hurston, Morrison, Lewis, and I wonder if they knew of the legacy they would leave behind. I don’t think any of my ancestors who helped me get where I am today ever truly got to bask in their successes. They were too busy fighting for the next step in progress. I wish all of us could see the end of the road. I wish we could all live to see paradise. But the ugly truth is that some of us will be gone, some of us will be left, and some of us may be too stuck in our ways to even want to start anew.
JAHQUALE MAZYCK (he/him/his) is from Brooklyn, N.Y. He is currently receiving B.F.A. acting training at Rutgers University. He starred in the Off-Broadway production of Chisa Hutchinson’s “Surely Goodness” and “Mercy” (Keen Company), as well as Michelle Tyrene Johnson’s radio play “Buried Roots.” A reading of his first full-length play, “MAD,” was included in the 2019 season of the Corkscrew Theater Festival, and he was one of the seven playwrights awarded a commission in the 11th season of the Obie Award-winning Fire This Time Festival. His other short work, entitled “Dude,” premiered in the summer of 2020 at both the Frigid Queerly Festival and the Reparations Show produced by Kevin R. Free. He is an alumnus of LaGuardia High School and is currently attending Rutgers University for acting.
We’re sharing excerpts from the plays featured in “House Seats: The Fire This Time Festival,” now available to stream on the ALL ARTS website and app. More information about the films and excerpts can be found here.
Top Image: "If Men Were Flowers" still. Photo: The Fire This Time Festival on ALL ARTS.