Grief is a powerful force, one that can bring people together and force them to confront uncomfortable truths about themselves. That is one of the main themes of the new PlayMakers Repertory Company show “Jump," premiering Jan. 26.
"Jump" centers around Fay, played by graduate student April Mae Davis, a young woman who returns to her hometown to help her father following a death in the family. As the play continues, more information is revealed about Fay, her sister, her family and her mental health.
“We start to kind of learn more about how Fay is experiencing the world and more about what happens when she’s forced to deal with a very hard truth about her sister,” Director Whitney White said. “It deals a lot with mental health; it deals a lot with how to repair family ties and how to connect with new people.”
The presence of mental health and grief as major plot points in the show is an element that drew White to “Jump” in the first place. Fay and her family are Black, and the possibility of portraying a non-white family in “a refreshing, honest and human way,” was appealing to the director.
“Charly (Evon Simpson), the playwright, has definitely written about a beautiful Black family that’s struggling with grief and loss,” Davis said. “We’re able to just come at it with the truth of these characters and the desires, just bringing out the desires of the characters that any human being can have. It just happens to be a Black family.”