Coming soon to the New York Theatre Festival is Les Boîtes Noires, running February 17, 19 and 22 at the Hudson Guild Theater.
Written by Papa Jean, Les Boîtes Noires is the story of a Haitian Family living in modern day NYC dealing with everyday life. The American born children of this family must try to juggle to fit into their own lives while still trying to survive their parents’ old school, immigrant ways. They all have dreams of living the American dream…
Below, BroadwayWorld checks in with Papa Jean to hear all about the new play!
Tell us about Les Boîtes Noires…
Les Boîtes Noires is French title and it is translated to The Black Boxes. Les Boîtes Noires is a captivating story about a Haitian family living in a modern day, gentrifying NYC dealing with the ups and downs of everyday life. In this comedy-drama, the American born children of this family must try juggle fitting into their own lives, while trying to survive their parent’s old-fashioned traditions and immigrant ways. The American dream is very important to everyone in the household, and each person will take things to the edge to see their dreams come true in this story,
Why is this story so important now?
With the proactive movement of society today, many more opportunities have been created for more diverse voices to have a platform. Les Boîtes Noires not only culturally shines a light on a voice that is rarely heard in the arts, it depicts the stunning traditional similarities that Haitian families have to other families from a large number of diligent backgrounds.
What inspired the creation of the show?
Les Boîtes Noires is inspired by true events in my life. Being born and raised in NYC, growing up with immigrants parents was basically an ongoing day time soap opera: General Hospital with out the suspenseful instrumentals. I am not just the writer and director of the show, I also play a role in the story. After studying acting, theatre and writing in my earlier years, I took to social media with a barrage of characters, sketches, and short films. I soon gained a strong following who constantly requested live performances. So I did what I do best, took my fingers to my keyboard and wrote a story; Les Boîtes Noires.
How long have you been working on the show and how has it evolved during that time?
I wrote the show in 2017 and every scene and moment of the show has truly evolved since then. My everyday life and the lives of the people around me have helped me make new discoveries in Les Boîtes Noires everyday. Not to mention, pop culture has also influenced the show in the terms of, depending when and where we perform, making necessary adjustments and changes as we see needed.
What are your favorite plays/musicals?
My top five favorite plays/musicals are A Raisin in The Sun, The Lion King, The Piano Lesson, Freeman, A Street Car Named Desire, Antigone, and Hamlet. I love anything Shakespeare.
How hard is it to get stories out about communities that haven’t been well-represented on stage?
I don’t think it’s hard getting stories out about communities that have not been well represented on stage, I feel the difficulties more lie in outside communities actually coming to see these shows. Although I have self produced my show a handful of times, I am excited at the opportunity to have Les Boîtes Noires at The NY Theatre Festival because it is a new platform for us and hopefully it is one opportunity for unheard voices to start helping bridge the gap of representation on stage and entertaining new communities.
What do you hope audiences come out of the show saying and thinking?
I hope the audiences say, “Wow, that Haitian family was just like ours!” Or “I want to see this again!” Or ” I gotta tell my friends about this show!”
How can our readers get more information?
Les Boîtes Noires is part of The NY Theatre festival and will be going up on 2/17,2/19,&2/22 at The Hudson Guild Theater in the heart of NYC. You could always check out my website for more info and updates: PapaJeanRepublik.com or follow me on social media @iampapajean.
What else would you like the BroadwayWorld audience to know about your work and this production?
As a creative person of color and son of hard working immigrants, I just want all audiences to know that Les Boîtes Noires is not just my story and my voice, but it is the story of millions of people around America! My cast and I are very excited to bring forth this fun filled, comedy drama to the stages of The Big Apple.