"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."
For The Record
Los Angeles Times Monday, April 21, 2008 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 1 inches; 50 words Type of Material: Correction
'Emergency': An article in Sunday's Calendar section about performer Daniel Beaty said his one-man show "Emergency" opened Sunday at the Geffen Playhouse. The show opens Wednesday. The article also referred to a recent Geffen presentation starring Joan Rivers as a "one-woman show"; there were several other performers in Rivers' show.
For The Record
Los Angeles Times Sunday, April 27, 2008 Home Edition Sunday Calendar Part E Page 2 Calendar Desk 1 inches; 33 words Type of Material: Correction
Joan Rivers: An article last Sunday about Daniel Beaty's one-man show "Emergency" referred to a recent Geffen Playhouse presentation starring Joan Rivers as a "one-woman show"; there were several performers in Rivers' show.
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."
For his part, Beaty says: "I love Miss Dee. Whenever I felt sorry for myself and tried to call her to complain, she would not only remind me about what's special about me, but about who I am in terms of history. The other thing that she reminds me of is importance of being who I am as an authentic artist, my quirkiness, and my humor."
Where: Geffen Playhouse, 10886 Le Conte Ave., Westwood
When: 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays, 8 p.m. Fridays, 4 and 8:30 p.m. Saturdays, 2 and 7 p.m. Sundays
Ends: May 25
Price: $35 to $79
Contact: (310) 208-5454