These are just some of the issues explored by 12th grader Ellen Hubbard in her play Mercy Mercy Me, which will be featured in next month’s New Writers Now! – From Civil War to Civil Rights.
Mercy Mercy Me focuses on one African American family living in mid-sixties Chicago, at the peak of the Civil Rights movement. Parents Charlotte and James struggle to make ends meet, focusing on their family despite the injustices they face every day. Neither they nor their children, however, can ignore these injustices for long.
Ellen, who was in 11th grade at Bell Multicultural High School when she wrote the play, is passionate about the Civil Rights period. “Everything from that movement inspired me because if all those people could get through that, you could get through anything,” she says. “And they kept their sense of humor through it all. That’s important.”
While her poignant portrayal of one family’s search for equality takes place more than four decades ago, Ellen knows it will still strike a chord with today’s audience. “There are still a lot of movements going on,” she points out. “Animal rights, the women’s movement…There are still a lot of people struggling to get their rights recognized.”
In addition to identifying with the themes she examines, Ellen also hopes that her audience will find inspiration in James and Charlotte’s story. “I hope people will be inspired to do whatever they want to in spite of the obstacles in their way, as far as money or whatever else. And be thankful for what they have,” she says. “I hope the audience can relate to it – and still have a couple of laughs!”
New Writers Now! – From Civil War to Civil Rights will be performed on February 7, at 7pm, at GALA Hispanic Theatre (3333 14th St. NW). Admission is free.
Looking forward to seeing you there!