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Conversation Pieces


Vol. 82 — Fricatives: Short Plays to Nourish the Mind & Soul

by Cesi Davidson

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Read a sample from the book.

Fricatives, the second collection of Short Plays to Nourish the Mind & Soul, positions Cesi Davidson as a champion of brevity and depth in playmaking. Her years of listening to the collective us, her unconstrained imagination, and her linguistic flexibility result in unusual interpretations of the complexities of American life. Fricatives follows her first book, Articulation, with an eclectic mix of storytelling, providing challenges to performing artists and a roller coaster ride of entertainment for the reader.

Praise for Fricatives

“Don’t be deceived by what may appear to be delightful, soft spoken ‘playlets’ which could easily be developed into full length plays. The Fricatives anthology. dives deep and extends wide into complex dilemmas of race, class, gender, and spirituality. Cesi Davidson crafts this inquiry with characters ranging from inanimate objects, to food, to animals. When her characters are human, their authentic dialogue is flavored with magical realism that entrances the reader and spirits them to the end of the tale. Actors are challenged to live the truth of a Green Pea. Directors must create an ensemble which can ferret in and out of time, transporting the audience beyond their wildest imaginings. Designers are invited to build worlds both minimalist, or whimsical, and every way in between. Don’t be afraid to surrender your soul, naked to the depth in these plays. Whether read or performed, it’s an unforgettable trip.”
 —Tonya Pinkins, Tony Award Winning Actor and Award winning filmmaker of RED PILL

“Cesi Davidson’s creativity knows no bounds. Wildly imaginative in style, hilarious, moving, and often disturbing, her plays illuminate a wide range of real-life experiences—human, vegetable, and beyond. Whether seen in production “or read in the privacy of your home, Davidson’s plays will introduce you to voices you’ve never heard, make you think about the world in ways you’ve never considered, and stir up emotions you never knew you had. What more can you ask of this wonderful writer?”
 —Zachary Sklar, Oscar-nominated screenwriter for JFK (with Oliver Stone)

“Cesi Davidson’s words are musical notes on paper. She creates stories with a composer’s tools: rhythm, melody, harmony, timbre, dynamics, texture, and form. Some plays in her anthology Fricatives, have the emotional feel of a familiar ballad. Others are complex symphonies. Still others jump off the page with the energy of boogie woogie. Cesi has found a way to be guided in her writing by the universality of music and language, and the marriage is beautiful.”
 —John ‘JT’ Thomas, musician and composer

“The words come through me,” says a character in one of Cesi Davidson‘s marvelous new plays. “I don’t own them… or do I?” This character is channeling the spirit of artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, and, in turn, being channeled by the author. Such moments abound here, moments of wonder and wondering. The human voice—that most rich and varied of instruments—breaks through again and again, riffing on our shared reservoir of bliss and heartache and hilarity. These little plays are big.”
 —John Gould, author of The End of Me

“Cesi Davidson’s compelling plays in the anthology Fricatives are grounded in forgiveness and resilience, permitting emancipation and the freedom to be one’s true authentic self. As always, Davidson’s work asks us to examine and transform the “nonhuman” aspects of our humanity, liberating ourselves from the poison in our hearts and allowing us to see the full extent of human joy, excellence, and magic.”
 —Tobie S. Stein, author, of Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Performing Arts Workforce

“Cesi Davidson’s short plays will intrigue, delight, move, and shock you. You might be drawn to her whimsical creatures residing in the animal kingdom or the country of fruits and vegetables. You might be drawn to her human characters, the real-world issues of lack of opportunities, discrimination and racism. Whatever your preference, you will be entertained, you will learn from these plays and you will think about them long after you have finished reading/watching them.”
 —Anna Steegmann, bilingual writer and translator

“The plays in Cesi Davidson’s anthology Fricatives are small bites that satisfy a five course gourmet literary palate.”
 —Celeste Rita Baker, author of Glass Bottle Dancer, De MotherJumpers, and the short story collection Back, Belly and Side

“In this kaleidoscope of plays, you’ll meet many characters, human and non-human, that collectively shine a light on humanity with honesty, heartache, and humor. Cesi’s imaginative, playful and courageous words are golden for a performer. I especially appreciate the diverse casting that offers fresh perspectives on our shared human experience. These unique voices remind us that the world is full of wonder, and I’ll never look at pasta the same way ever again.”
 —Rachel Lu, actress, Chingish and Front Cover

“From a pair of frozen peas who take themselves too seriously to an activist cow to an old friend of Jean Michel Basquiat, Cesi Davidson spotlights people and things that may never have otherwise seen the light. You can think you understand a character’s motivation, but in an instant they will transform and astound you, leaving you breathless. In this latest collection of Cesi’s plays, a reader will find in every piece the “audible friction” that is the title of the book. Many of the darker plays have an incredible lightness, and her lighter pieces offer deeper glimpses into subjects like grief, abuse and greed. She can broach these topics with ease because she knows how to encase them in love. Her cows are righteous, her peas are hard-working, and her words point us towards a more truthful version of ourselves.”
 —Kim Chinh, actor, screenwriter, playwright, author of Reclaiming Vietnam

ISBN: 978-1-61976-214-5 (13 digit)
Publication Date: Oct 2021
paperback