"What is the magic, the possibility, in telling a story that is really authentically told through the lens of an African American experience?" Beaty continues. The goal, he says, is not to "put in some white characters so everyone will be comfortable, or do a stereotypical portrayal so it will be a black story told in such a way that nonblack people will have 'easy access.' "
Beaty wants to challenge the preconceptions and prejudices of black audiences as well.
"I've had people of color say to me: 'You did not just say that up there!' And I'm like: 'We have to say that; we have to have this conversation," he says. "We are taking about issues of race, we are talking about issues of sexuality. Whether we bring them to the forefront or not, it's in our conversation."
One person impressed with the "conversation" is actress Ruby Dee, who, after seeing an early version of "Emergency," produced a showcase performance for Beaty with her late actor-husband Ossie Davis. Dee also wrote to Larry Leon Hamlin, the late former producer of the National Black Theater Festival, who produced the show for the 2005 fest.
Dee, who has performed her own solo show "My Last Good Nerve," says of Beaty, "He's sensitive to the human condition; he's sensitive to the interconnectedness of the events of the history of the country, and human development. He uses his sense of humor to tie things together. My sensibilities are aroused by this person who embodies so many people that we don't usually have the gift to see or acknowledge."