Home. Identity. Secrets and lies. An African-American attorney with a career on the rise is shocked to discover she has an Iraqi half-sister in Wendy Graf’s newest play, a hard-hitting drama about family conflict and clashing cultures. L.A Weekly and NAACP Award-winner Diarra Kilpatrick stars as Julia Dolan, whose carefully constructed life begins to crumble when Neyla (Simone Missick), a devout Muslim, arrives in the U.S. A violinist, Neylas plans to audition for Julliard – but is there more to her story? Directed by Shirley Jo Finney, the world premiere of Closely Related Keys examines the walls we erect in our current climate of racial, religious, moral and political polarization.
“It’s about love and loyalty, secrets and lies, and how the past, never being dead, just hovers around waiting to smack us upside the head,” says playwright Graf. “It’s about picking up the broken pieces to imperfectly assemble a new family and future.”
“What I love about this piece is that it puts a fresh spin on racial relations that’s very different from what we usually see in plays about the African American experience,” says director Finney. “Each of the five characters has a unique voice with a very distinctive point of view. These people, like all of us, are trying to navigate a world that has become interconnected and multicultural on every level.”
The play’s title is taken from a musical expression meaning “to share many common tones.”