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.Don’t Even Tripp’s Next Play Inspired by Fred Hampton

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Ayasha Tripp announced the re-launch of her theater production company, Don’t Even Tripp Productions, and her newest play, Generation of Dreams, on December 4th —the day after a grand jury decided not to indict the police officer involved in the death of Eric Garner. Over the phone, she said she initially chose December 4th to coincide with the anniversary of Black Panther leader Fred Hampton’s murder by FBI and Chicago Police in 1969. Disturbingly, the same day, 45 years later, had hundreds marching in Oakland in protest of the Eric Garner decision, also stopping for a moment of silence in memory of Oscar Grant outside of Fruitvale BART station.

Tripp wrote Generation of Dreams with the goal to “ignite the community” long before the recent protests against the grand jury decisions in Ferguson and New York began to literally and figuratively ignite the East Bay, and the country. Appropriately, one of Tripp’s goals for her plays is to put history into perspective.
[jump] In 2010, she founded Don’t Even Tripp and directed a self-written play, And an Angel Came Down, at the Lesher Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek. The second night of the show sold out, with half of the profits going to Youth Uprising Center, a youth-centric community organization in East Oakland. Since, Tripp and co-organizers Asia Jackson, Arielle Vaughan, and Damon Hastings, have decided to transition the organization into a 501(c) nonprofit, shifting from its previous function as more of a marketing tool. Tripp said that the goal in this revamping is to stage three to four productions per year, offering opportunities for new writers and directors, as well.

Generation of Dreams’ protagonists are two college seniors who require life fulfillment beyond a college degree and a well-paying job. Inspired by activists before them, such as Fred Hampton and Ella Baker, they look at their own generation for positive social change. The play opens with a scene on the first anniversary George Zimmerman’s acquittal, and the characters lament how their peers are “quick to complain, but slow to action.” Tripp mentioned that even though her plays feature many young people, the productions “appeal to anybody who has a desire to know about what’s going on in the community.” The timing of the announcement for the newest play is a fitting addition to the latest local and national discussions of activism, especially on social media. 

Rather than a “cookie-cutter” solution, Tripp wants to leave it up to the audience to start bridging discriminatory gaps across generations, race, and politics. However, this doesn’t mean that the story line or entertainment quality of the play will be compromised. Comedic moments and a romantic sub-plot will be complimented by special effects such as projections of painted dream scenes on stage. 

DET Productions will debut an Indiegogo campaign starting in January to support costs for the production, set to debut at the Lesher Center in August 2015. A portion of the ticket sales will go to the Ella Baker Center. To donate before then, visit the Don’t Even Tripp Production website


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