The Broadway hit Slave Play was nominated for several awards after it debuted last year, and earned effusive praise from theater critics at The New York Times and The Hollywood Reporter.
But one of playwright Jeremy O. Harris’ former flings from his college days wasn’t quite so impressed with the critically-acclaimed work, and took the time to contact him on Instagram to tell him so — and offer some unsolicited advice on how Harris could make it better.
On Tuesday, Harris took to Twitter to share the mindbogglingly overconfident DMs he received from the man he’d dated years ago, leaving other Twitter users, shocked, appalled, and utterly flabbergasted.
Major hit! The Broadway hit Slave Play was nominated for several awards after it debuted last year, and earned effusive praise from theater critics
Yikes! Playwright Jeremy O. Harris’ former fling from college wasn’t impressed with the critically-acclaimed work, and took the time to contact him on Instagram to tell him so
Cringe: The old flame said he was ‘disappointed’ and offered some advice that Harris could follow to make his Broadway play better
Self-awareness: He told him the play, which was sold-out on Broadway, would be difficult to produce
Slave Play quickly became one of the most buzzed-about pieces on the New York theater scene after it made its off-Broadway debut at the New York Theatre Workshop on November 19, 2018.
It went on to premiere on Broadway on October 6, 2019, selling out and earning a nomination for Best Play in the Lucille Lortel Awards.
The play has proven controversial due to the ways in which it addresses race and sex, but it’s earned plenty of rave reviews.
The New York Times called it ‘one of the best and most provocative new works to show up on Broadway in years,’ Time Out described it as ‘brash, smart and gleefully confrontational,’ and The Hollywood Reporter called it a ‘must-see hit’ and a ‘ferociously funny original work that deserves to be seen on its own merits.’
But Broadway’s top theater critics weren’t the only ones weighing in: One of Harris’ former hook-ups had an opinion, too, and wasn’t too shy to share it.
‘Someone I hooked up with in college decided to send me this tonight. I love the internet,’ Harris said
‘Someone I hooked up with in college decided to send me this tonight. I love the internet,’ Harris said.
It’s unclear whether this was someone Harris dated when he attended DePaul University in 2009 or later at Yale University, from which he graduated in 2019, but he did say that he met him on OK Cupid.
The exchange, which was over DM on Instagram, started with the out-of-the-blue message from the old fling.
‘Read the first third of your play,’ he wrote. ‘I can’t make any sense of this. Ellipses all over. I’m a little disappointed.
‘Draw your characters with strength and contrasts,’ he went on, confidently offering advice on a play that already had a sold-out Broadway run.
‘Most of them feel like the same person: you,’ he said. ‘I am truly glad you have found success with this piece, but it doesn’t do me so well.
So embarrassing! Social media users were horrified by the messages, calling the ex ‘ridiculous,’ ‘remarkably sad,’ ‘gross,’ ‘jealous,’ and ‘unhinged’
Clearly bemused, Harris wrote back: ‘Cool. lol.’
The ex didn’t take the hint, though, and continued with several more paragraph-long messages.
‘I’m really happy for ya. Saw you on Chris Hayes and that blew my mind,’ he said.
‘I think that you mostly should study in scene construction. Your play is honestly, difficult to read. Or even produce,’ he said.
‘The characters in the playbill are introduced by race and color first?’ he asked, seeming to miss the point that the entire play is about the dynamics of interracial couples.
‘That is very unusual,’ he went on. ‘I’m not saying it can’t be done, but after you do that you’ve got to really grip contrasts on the page.
‘In your next work, sharpen your contrasts. Get tight with your dialogue. I know you’ve got it, but sharpen your contrasts like Key and Peele.
Big deal: The play has proven controversial due to the ways in which it addresses race and sex, but it’s earned plenty of rave reviews
Impressive: The New York Times called it ‘one of the best and most provocative new works to show up on Broadway in years’
‘Hard to believe someone could really have that little shame as to think sending you that was in any way ok,’ tweeted Rent star Anthony Rapp
Dude… Playwright Leah Nanako Winkler experienced something similar, with men she doesn’t know offering critiques
‘You’ll be astonished by your own work,’ he concluded.
But it seems what astonished Twitter users was the man’s temerity, which led him to thing that the messages were welcome or appropriate.
‘Oh my god. What would compel someone to give unwarranted, unwanted and un-asked for criticism of their work just out of the blue? I do not understand why anyone would do this,’ wrote one commenter.
Check yourself… Twitter users were astonished by the man’s temerity, which led him to thing that the messages were welcome or appropriate
‘This is unreal,’ wrote another.
‘Lol and how many plays has he had on Broadway,’ quipped a third.
‘SHEEEEEESH!!! That’s what I’m reduced to. Just a sound. Hard to believe someone could really have that little shame as to think sending you that was in any way ok,’ tweeted Rent star Anthony Rapp.
‘“Read the first third of your play” is my favorite candidate for absolute worst way to start an unsolicited conversation,’ tweeted yet another astounded commenter.
‘Is this person saying that Slave Play would be difficult to produce? The play that’s been……………produced?’ asked one more.
Several found the Key and Peele reference especially funny, while others called the ex ‘ridiculous,’ ‘remarkably sad,’ ‘gross,’ ‘jealous,’ and ‘unhinged.’
‘This is PAINFUL to read. I cannot fathom the lack of self awareness it would take to type and send these messages to someone….’ someone else replied.