The Kennedy Center


Critical Breaks Reading Series: Chasing Mehserle 

Friday, March 9, 2018 - Saturday, March 10, 2018

Hip Hop Culture

Chinaka Hodge's captivating play examines race, class, gender, and privilege through the lens of a young black man in Oakland as he processes the real-life murder of Oscar Grant. Age 14+.

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 "A searing portrait of injustice prolonged." San Francisco Chronicle

Chasing Mehserle
is Chinaka Hodge's new play for our times about a young man trying to come to terms with gentrification, injustice and violence in his community. Directed by Hodge herself and performed by a cast of five on a minimalist set, the story maps the city of Oakland’s changing demographics, morphing culture, gentrification, and the communal response to the real-life murder of Oscar Grant at the hands of white police officer Johannes Mehserle on January 1, 2009.

A sequel to Hodge’s first play Mirrors in Every Corner, Chasing Mehserle examines an event that ignited a passionate conversation about the widening divide between African-Americans and local police. Through gripping dialogue and poignant humor, the audience will follow Watts, a young man in Oakland who has been agoraphobic since seeing the Rodney King beatings as a child. He makes a New Year’s resolution to finally leave the house—the same day Grant is murdered by Mehserle.

Mature themes; recommended for age 14 & up. 

Chasing Mehserle was originally commissioned by Black Women’s Playwrights Group and co-presented by Intersection for the Arts, Hip Hop Theater Fest, The Living Word Project, and MIT’s Media Lab.