Meet the playwright behind a 'deeply raw space' on Broadway

Meet the playwright behind a 'deeply raw space' on Broadway
This Sept. 17, 2019 photo shows playwright Jeremy O. Harris posing in New York to promote his Broadway debut "Slave Play." (Photo by Christopher Smith/Invision/AP)

NEW YORK (AP) — Playwright Jeremy O. Harris has a rule that he doesn’t cry in public. He broke that rule the night Rihanna attended his Broadway debut.

Harris uses the singer’s 2017 hit single “Work” throughout his searing “Slave Play” and the pop star had promised to stop by one day. When she did, he wept.

Harris says, “I was an empty shell for a day.”

Harris considers Rihanna “the patron saint” of the play. “Work” was playing in his head as he was coming up with the idea for it and triggering thoughts about women’s labor.

“Slave Play” is a bracing work that mixes race, sex, taboo desires and class. Harris says the play leaves you “in a space that’s raw” and that’s intentional.