A Cool Dip in the Barren Saharan Crick

March 5–April 12, 2010
USAWorld Premiere
A COOL DIP IN THE BARREN SAHARAN CRICK offers glimpses into the lives of Abebe, a young Ethopian man with a passion for the unlikely combination of Christianity and ecology, and the family that houses him during his college studies in Maryland. Through their interactions, the play uncompromisingly tackles the issues of drought and social injustice, combining a realistic evocation of human emotion with the fantastical to bring attention to the scarcity of something we so often take for granted: water.
Meet the Artists

Kiia Corthron (Playwright) A Cool Dip in the Barren Saharan Crick premiered at Playwrights Horizons in spring 2010. Other plays include Moot the Messenger; Light Raise the Roof; Snapshot Silhouette; Slide Glide the Slippery Slope; The Venus de Milo Is Armed; Breath, Boom; Force Continuum; Splash Hatch on the E Going Down; Seeking the Genesis; Digging Eleven; Life by Asphyxiation; Wake Up Lou Riser; Come Down Burning; Cage Rhythm. Awards include the Rockefeller Foundation's Bellagio Creative Arts Residency, McKnight National Residency, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts Award for Excellence in the Arts, Barbara Barondess MacLean Foundation Award, AT&T On Stage Award, Daryl Roth Creative Spirit Award, Mark Taper Forum's Fadiman Award, NEA/TCG, Kennedy Center Fund for New American Plays, New Professional Theatre Playwriting Award, Callaway Award, Connections Contest winner, and in television a Writers Guild Outstanding Drama Series Award and Edgar Allan Poe Award for The Wire.

Chay Yew (Director) is a recipient of the Obie and DramaLogue Awards for Direction. His productions have been cited by the Los Angeles Times and New York Times as one of the “Ten Best Productions of the Year;” Seattle Times and Strangers’ Best Achievement in Theatre; and was named Best Director by Seattle Post-Intelligencer. He has directed world premieres by playwrights Jose Rivera, Naomi Iizuka, Kia Corthron, Julia Cho, David Adjmi and Jessica Goldberg, and performance artists Rha Goddess, Universes, Alec Mapa, Sandra Tsing Loh and Brian Freeman. He is the recipient of the London Fringe Award for Best Playwright and Best Play, George and Elisabeth Marton Playwriting Award, GLAAD Media Award, Asian Pacific Gays and Friends’ Community Visibility Award, Made in America Award, AEA/SAG/AFTRA 2004 Diversity Honor, and Robert Chesley Award; he has received grants from the McKnight Foundation, Rockefeller MAP Fund and the TCG/Pew National Residency Program. Chay is also an accomplished and widely respected playwright, and his plays are published in two titles,The Hyphenated American Plays and Porcelain and A Language of Their Own, by Grove Press; the latter was nominated for a Lamda Literary Award. He is presently editing a new anthology Version 3.0: Contemporary Asian American Plays for TCG Publications. An alumnus of New Dramatists, he has held residencies at Mu Lan Theatre Company, Northwest Asian American Theatre Company and East West Players. He serves on the National Advisory Board at the Playwrights Center and the Artistic Advisory Board of Partial Comfort Theatre. He is a New York Theatre Workshop Usual Suspect and Vineyard Theatre Community of Artists. He has also served on the Board of Directors of Theatre Communications Group and is presently on the Executive Board of the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers. Chay Yew joined Victory Gardens Theater in July 2011 as its first new artistic director in 34 years. (Spring 2012)

Keith Eric Chappelle (Actor) known for The Good Wife (2009), Person of Interest (2011) and Blue Bloods (2010).

William Jackson Harper (Actor) A Cool Dip in the Barren Saharan Crick. Broadway: All the Way. Off-Broadway: Modern Terrorism (Second Stage); Massacre (Rattlestick); The Total Bent, Titus Andronicus (The Public); Ruined (MTC); Paradise Park, Queens Boulevard (the musical) (Signature). Other theater: You Got Older (HERE), Dance of the Holy Ghosts (NYS&F), Neglect (EST). Member of Ensemble Studio Theatre. Film & Television: The Good Place.

Joshua King (Actor) was born in 2000 in North Carolina, USA. Known for Kings (2009), All My Children (1970) and Z Rock (2008).

Kianné Muschett (Actor) is known for Grand Theft Auto IV: The Ballad of Gay Tony (2009), Shades of Blue (2016) and Love in Submission (2020).

Myra Lucretia Taylor (Actor) has been seen on Broadway in Nine (Tony Award Best Revival), MacbethElectraChronicle of a Death ForetoldMuleBone, and A Streetcar Named Desire. Off Broadway: The Rolling Stone (LCT), The Lucky Ones (Ars Nova; Lortel nom., Best Featured Actress in a Musical), School Girls; Or, the African Mean Girls Play (MCC; Special Drama Desk Award, Best Ensemble), Familiar (Playwrights Horizons; Lortel and OCC nominations for Best Featured Actress in a Play). Regional: School Girls; Or, the African Mean Girls Play (CTG; LA Drama Critics’ Circle Best Ensemble – nomination) Where Storms Are Born (Williamstown Theatre Festival, world premiere), Our Town (Long Wharf), Mary (Goodman), The Old Settler (McCarter, Long Wharf, world premieres). National Tour: Wicked (first African American Madame Morrible). International: The Winter’s TalePericles (member Royal Shakespeare Company). TV: Upcoming: Cortex, The Hunt. Previous: Atlanta, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Girls, Madam Secretary, Elementary, Instinct. Film: Ben is Back, The Big Sick, Catfight, Bushwick, Madeline’s Madeline. WEB: “Best Thing You’ll Ever Do” (Indie Web nom., best supporting actress). Ms. Taylor is a Fox Fellow.

Kris Stone (Set Designer) lives for the living playwright. Designs for premieres have been seen at the following;

NYC: Playwrights Horizon, Second Stage, Lincoln Centre Theatre 3, Rattlestick, New Victory (Drama Desk Nom Brundibar), Ars Nova (Lortel Nom Outstanding Musical The Wildness), Joyce, Cherry Lane, La Mama, and Women’s Project.

Regionally: Hartford Stage, Huntington, Yale Rep, Old Globe, Long Wharf, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Lyric Opera Baltimore, People’s Light, Florentine/Nashville/Tulsa Opera, Contemporary American Festival, Opera Memphis/Cleveland, and Chicago Opera Theatre.

Internationally: Abbey Theatre, Project Theatre Dublin, Riverside - London, Wiesbaden Festival - Germany, Dublin and Edinburgh Theatre Festivals, Royal Theatre -Tasmania, and Mermaid Arts Center - Bray, Ireland.

Near and dear remain; Cusi Cram’s A LIFETIME BURNING (Primary Stages, dir. Pam MacKinnon), Jenny Schwartz’s GOD’S EAR (Vineyard/New Georges at CSC, dir. Anne Kauffman), Dan LeFranc’s TROUBLEMAKER (Berkeley Rep, dir. Lila Neugebauer), HUNDRED DAYS a rock opera by The Bengsons (Z Space - San Francisco, dir. Anne Kauffman), and Set/Projections for J.T. Rogers’ BLOOD AND GIFTS (La Jolla Playhouse – regional premiere, dir. Lucie Tiberghien).

Upcoming: HUNDRED DAYS for New York Theatre Workshop), DUBLIN BY LAMPLIGHT for the Abbey Theatre in Dublin Corn Exchange), JANE EYRE for Cincinnati Playhouse and Milwaukee Rep, SISTER CARRIE for The Florentine Opera/tours, and IN THE NIGHT KITCHEN by Philip Glass and Maurice Sendak directed by Phelim McDermott for the Manchester International Festival in 2018.

Ms. Corthron can write lively, spiky and funny dialogue and create reasonably lifelike characters. Abebe in particular is compellingly drawn, endearing and exasperating in equal measures.
–The New York Times

…when the play is waxing its most lyrical, whether about activism of the environmental or evangelical varieties, it’s one of the most refreshing of the season to date.”
–Talkin’ Broadway

Half family drama and half sociopolitical exposé, Cool Dip makes the socialand ecological issues surrounding water both compelling and fascinating, shedding new light on this most basic of necessities.”
–Show Business

Written by

Kia Corthron

Directed by

Chay Yew


Keith Eric Chappelle William Jackson Harper Joshua King Kianne Muschett Myra Lucretia Taylor

Set Design

Kris Stone

Costume Design

Anita Yavich

Lighting Design

Ben Stanton

Sound Design

Darron L. West

Production Stage Manager

Kasey Ostopchuck


Playwrights Horizons Peter Jay Sharp Theater 416 West 42nd Street New York, NY