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June 10, 2018

Play: Pipeline

by NancyElin

Karen Pittman as Nya


Title:   Pipeline

The title is inspired by Morisseau’s reading of the book The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander (….on my TBR). She was struck by the school-to-prision pipeline. It refers to people who go straight from school right into prison…systematically creating a kind of social structure.



The play centers on Nya Joseph (Pittman), a dedicated inner-city high school teacher who sends her only son Omari to a private boarding school; a controversial incident causes Nya to rally to save her son from expulsion.


Single mom: struggling parent doing her damnedest – strong but burning out – smoker…sometimes drinker…holding on by a thread.
Public school teacher: inspiring students in a stressed environment. (character is modeled after playwright’s mother)

Black man, late teens: who is wrestling with identity- Nys’a son with a …private school education being from urban community.
Smart and astute – rage without release – tender…but honest to the core.

Latina teen: sharp bite….soft smile
profoundly aware of herself…and her environment

Ex-husband: mid-late 30’s – wounded relationship with Nya – financially stable – emotionally impoverished.

White woman in her 50’s:  pistol of a woman – can hold her own against tough students – doesn’t bite her tongue – a ‘don’t-fuck-with-me’ chick

Black security school guard: early mid-30’s – fit and optimistic – charismatic with women – genuine and thoughtful – trying to be a gentleman in a stressed environment. It’s not easy.

The cast:



  1. Morisseau grew up in Detroit, Michigan.
  2. Her mother’s family is from Mississippi.
  3. Her father’s family is from Haiti
  4. This is a deeply moving story of a mother’s fight to give her son a future
  5. without turning her back on the community that made him who he is.
  6. The quote that stopped me in my tracks:
  7. “What kinda nigga just sends checks and calls that fatherhood?”
  8. #Powerful
  9. Morisseau is on the list of Top 20 Most Produced Playwrights
  10. in America 2015–16, with 10 productions of her plays being produced.
  11. If you see one of her plays in the library….tuck it under you arm for
  12. …a great night at the theatre
  13. …..right in your own reading chair!


Playwright: Dominique Morisseau



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