The Beauty of Risk
Created by Jahnae Pitter
Written by Qasim Sonson with Jahnae Pitter
Directed by Eryn Harris
Jahnae/Little Jahnae | Jahnae Pitter
Kim Conyers/Maya | Rayna Brown
Vera/Show Choir Student | Eryn Harris
Chris/Derell | Bryon Morris
Anita Conyers/Joynell Carr | Celine Goris Luna
Ms. Lynette Carr-Hicks aka “Mama Carr”/ Ms.Tiffany | Refilwe Kekana
Shelter Guy/Shelter Girl/JP | Qasim Sonson
Show Choir Student/Cop | Denzé Chukwu
Makailah | Jada Vick
Aniya/Best Friend (first and final video) | Aniya Russell
Nahiem/Friend (first and final video) | Nahiem Paris
Director | Eryn Harris
Stage Manager | Zenzele Daniels
Lighting Designer | Jeremy Burd
Sound Board Operator | Kenzo James
Lighting Board Operator | Rachel Williams
Run Crew | Solangel Galindo
Run Crew | Mauricio Gonzalez
Run Crew | Brandon Belcher
Song Audio Mixer | Myles Josephh
Playwright’s Note (Qasim Sonson)
I’m writing this as I sit in the Humanities Theater watching a rehearsal for “The Beauty of Risk”. I see before me my past, present, and future. I look to my right and see the piano. The same piano me and Eryn played when we met four years ago, in the first class of Production Practicum, when the professor didn’t show up. I see my friend Jahnae, and I remember two years ago, when we spent those late nights studying our lines for Acting Scene Study. I played Asagai and Jahnae played Beneatha. Little did I know those late nights wouldn’t end there. We’d spend many more talking about Jahnae’s life, and journey to where she is now, while working on the script. I see my beautiful, talented, and dedicated actors on stage lit up, looking vibrant, giving life to this story. This show came from the collective talent and creativity of many people I am proud to call my friends, and Jahnae’s story that I am honored she trusted me to help share. I hope you took something away from it. And I hope to make more dope shit with my friends in the future.
Inspiration’s Note (Jahnae Pitter)
I feel so honored and blessed to be sharing my story and most importantly grateful to Qasim, Eryn, the cast, and everyone’s help in bringing my story to life. It is very vulnerable for me to put myself out there, especially in this day and age, but I want to inspire people and show the audience that life is hard and challenging, but is also beautiful. Through my story I want to show that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel and it’s okay to be angry or sad, as long as you don’t stay in that mindset forever. We must pick ourselves up because what doesn’t kill us, makes us stronger. I’m so honored to be working with such an amazing cast and crew. It is their love and support that makes it easy for me to feel at home in rehearsals. I thank God for the opportunity to have met and worked with this beautifully talented group of people who I have grown to love like family.
Director’s Note (Eryn Harris)
I feel so grateful to have directed The Beauty of Risk. I thank Jahnae and Qasim for trusting me with their work and Jahnae for trusting me with her story. Crafting this show and working with this BEAUTIFUL cast has been the highlight of a difficult semester for me. The Beauty of Risk to me is not only about taking a leap of faith and finding your light in the hard places, but it is also about found family. Finding a home in your school community and learning that a home is not defined by a physical building. Home is not in the architecture of walls and a warm bed. We don’t all have that luxury. But home is in the people you share space with, weather that space be the side of a freeway or a classroom. It is about the beauty of unconditional love. I thank the cast for all of their hard work and commitment, for their openness and willingness to go along with my crazy ideas and exercises. I thank God for blessing me with the opportunity. I Hope audiences will feel moved and rejoice. I hope they will see the beauty is taking some risks of their own.
Creative Team Profiles
Celine Goris Luna (Anita/Ms.Joy) is a junior at Purchase with a major in Theater and Performance and a minor in Psychology. This show is her very first show at Purchase College. Her biggest production before college was “In The Heights” where she played Daniela. She would like to thank her parents for being so supportive of her dreams. And a special thanks to the cast and crew of The Beauty of Risk for making this journey so unbelievably fun and for bringing so much light to the rehearsals.
Rayna Brown (Kim/Maya) is a Transfer student, Majoring in Theater & Performance from The Bronx, NY. Her Rep credits include Repertory Company High School Oedipus At Colonos (Thesus), Theater for the New City Productions Spring Festival 2017 (Ensemble), Street Theater 2018(Ensemble), Halloween 2018 (Ensemble), BMCC Musical Theather (Ms. Hannigan), Student film Hilton Goode “In the Meantime” (Sonya), Rayna will like to thank her family and friends for their unconditional support. She is honored to have her first production at Purchase be a powerful story, where she can give the perspective of a Mother who had to stay strong through complex obstacles. She thanks Jahnae for trusting her to tell her story and the cast and crew for welcoming her into the Purchase family.
Refilwe Kekana (Ms.Carr/Ms.Tiffany) is a fourth year THP major from New York, NY. Past credits include #Matter (Kim), Marisol (Angel), and Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story (Music Director/Leondra). Many thanks to those that have supported them!
Denzé Chukwu (Choir Student) is a second semester sophomore Communications major at Purchase College. Some of his acting credits (film/tv) include background work in, Power Book III: Raising Kanan, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, City on a Hill, Showtime’s: Billions, and a minor role in April Xiong’s Sora. He is excited for The Beauty of Risk as it is his first production at Purchase College. He would like to thank anyone who has ever supported him and those who came to see this show.
Bryon Morris (Chris/Derell) is a third Year Student majoring in Visual Arts at SUNY Purchase college. This will be Bryon’s first Production, Ever and he’s so grateful he has an amazing cast to get settled. The Beauty of Risk for him is seeing the gifts after facing your fears.
Jada Vick (Makailah) is a senior theatre and performance major. She was born in Brooklyn New York and attended the prestigious high school, Frank Sinatra school of the arts, where she received most of her musical and singing training. She would like to thank her family and loved ones for always supporting her dreams. She is an upcoming singer and aspiring broadway star. She thanks jahnae for giving her the opportunity to be apart of her senior project.
Jeremy Burd (Lighting Designer) is a third year Lighting Designer and Programmer from Long Island, NY. After he graduates, Jeremy wants to go on tour with an artist and put on shows all over the world. Production Credits Include: DiscOasis | Lighting Operator, A Chorus Line | Lighting Designer, Marisol | Lighting Programmer
Jahnae Pitter (Jahnae/little Jahnae) is a senior and Theatre & Performance Major. She was born in Philly and raised in Long Island, New York. Her Rep credits include show choir productions of “Harlem Nights”, ”Blues Brothers”, “August Rush”, and “Across The Universe” at Uniondale High School. She would like to thank her family who she loves very much and her cast and crew for helping her tell her story and creating this welcoming and endearing community of beautiful black people. She hopes the Beauty of Risk will be powerful and inspire all who comes to see!
Qasim Sonson (Shelter Girl/Guy/JP) is a senior Theater & Performance major with a Playwriting minor, from Brooklyn NY. His rep credits include: Almost Maine (Pete), and Is He Dead? (Leroux). He’d like to thank his family for their never ending support, because it keeps him going. And he’d like to thank his extremely talented friends Eryn Harris and Jahnae Pitter for going on the crazy and beautiful ride that is making art with him.
Eryn Harris (Director) is a Fourth year double major, in Theatre and Performance & Playwriting and Screenwriting from Queens, New York. Purchase rep credits include: Making New Plays “St Jay” (Esther),Thank You Ms.Pike (Director), What To Send Up When It Goes Down (Three). Other credits include, The Last Days Of Judas Iscariot (Jesus) and Blood At The Root (Justin) at Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School. She would like to thank her Mom and Grandma for raising her. As well as the rest of her family and friends for their continued support. Lastly she’d like to thank Jahnae Pitter for trusting her with her story.
About the Conservatory of Theatre Arts
In our teaching and art, the Conservatory values inclusiveness, equality, and excellence. Upholding all of our training is our aim to train and graduate citizen artists: multifaceted people with a strong sense of purpose in approaching an arts education.
What is a citizen artist? Citizen artists seek to discover how their unique voices can contribute to our world. They understand what it means to be an artist, and what they are here on earth to say and do and make.
The Conservatory trains future citizen artists in three degree programs:
+ BFA Actor Training. The BFA is an intensive professional training program offered to a highly select and diverse group of students. The professional training is anchored in four years of study in acting, voice, speech, and movement, complemented by offerings in dramatic literature and analysis, history of the theatre, stage combat, improvisation, mask work, acting for the camera, and the business of acting. As one of five schools in the Consortium of Professional Theatre Training Programs, Purchase is one of a handful of colleges in the world capable of training artists at this level—and of drawing a faculty from the ranks of professional theatre
+ BFA in Theatre Design/Technology. Emphasizing studio and classroom training, our professional training program in theatre design/technology gives students the guidance and support of established and theatre industry professionals. Many of our alumni are recognized at the top of their field, and have received Tony, Emmy, Obie, and Drama Desk Awards, among other honors. Quite literally, Purchase grads are working in or have worked in every theatre on Broadway, in all tristate venues, and with countless touring productions
+ BA program in Theatre and Performance. From traditional theatre to cutting-edge interdisciplinary work, the theatre and performance major encourages creativity, intellectual curiosity, social engagement, and critical thinking. The core requirements combine scholarship and practice to provide students with a strong foundation in theatre history and dramatic literature, with mandatory stagecraft/production courses. Theatre and Performance majors are encouraged to expand the scope of their education by studying abroad, as well as pursuing coursework in other programs of study within the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Purchase College