Ends Oct 01

The Peculiar Patriot

Members say: Absorbing, Great acting, Relevant, Thought-provoking, Must see
3 reviews
14 reviews

National Black Theatre and Hi-ARTS present the world premiere of Liza Jessie Peterson's solo piece about the prison industrial complex and the racial disparities that feed the draconian system.

... Read more

With more than 2.5 million people behind bars, America is the world’s leading prison superpower. 'The Peculiar Patriot' follows Betsy LaQuanda Ross as she makes regular visits to penitentiaries to boost the morale of her incarcerated friends and family, navigating love between barbed wire. As she shares neighborhood updates, gossip, and reminisces about family, Betsy delivers a shrewd indictment of the criminal justice system, with a heavy dose of humor to boot. 'The Peculiar Patriot' examines the human impact and inhuman machinery of mass incarceration.

And wait until it’s available
We'll email you when tickets are available at that price or lower.

Cast & Creatives (8)

Reviews (17)

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
Avg Score

The New York Times

"'The Peculiar Patriot' excels at visceral moments...even as it builds a strong case against the mass incarceration of African Americans...This is a comedy about a tragedy, and a patriotic call for reform...As both a writer and a performer, Ms. Peterson knows how to wield tenderness to leaven despair...The show is less successful when it is pointedly conveying political arguments or facts about incarceration." Full Review


"Peterson is a wonderful storyteller...Her delivery smooths over some of the rougher edges of her play, which vacillates between personal or second-hand stories and didactic monologues about the injustices of the system in which she lives...Theatrically speaking, 'The Peculiar Patriot' is aching for a stronger through line to drive home the emotional impact of the statistics and faceless stories Peterson puts forward as proof of a racially biased incarceration system." Full Review

Theatre is Easy

“A timely, moving solo show…Despite the dark subject matter, LaQuanda is an appealing character to spend two hours with, and Peterson has a commanding presence…The show tackles a lot of big issues…All are certainly extremely important topics, but it felt like too much to tackle in less than two hours, especially with only one main character. Still, I admire Peterson’s voice and think ‘The Peculiar Patriot’ is an important piece, particularly now.” Full Review

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
Avg Score

Great acting, Thought-provoking, Masterful, Relevant, Great writing

See it if You want to see an amazing one woman performance. You want to be thoroughly entertained. You want to be enlightened and hear some truths.

Don't see it if You want to be left in the dark about a lot of things. You want to miss out on an amazing performance. You don't want to hear some truths.

Also Ms. Liza was amazing and a beautiful being. This was so believable, sh... Read more Read less

Great acting, Intense, Thought-provoking, Must see, Relevant

See it if You want to experience the stories of a somewhat forgotten sector of our society

Don't see it if You don't like one woman shows or are uncomfortable with stories about prison and crime

Also There is an opportunity for a talkback with the creative team after ea... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Ambitious, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Resonant

See it if you want to see something that will simultaneously make you think and make you laugh. You have an interest in socio-political topics.

Don't see it if going to Harlem is not realistic for you, logistically. You do not like one-woman shows. Or you want a light, escapist night of theatre.

Absorbing, Intense, Must see, Great writing

See it if If you want to know the real story of the African American experience in the US prison system. Excellent solo performance.

Don't see it if If you have no interest in African American culture and/or the prison system

Great acting, Intelligent, Must see, Relevant, Riveting

See it if you want to see an honest play about the prison industrial complex and how it has affected people of color!

Don't see it if your head and mind is closed off to the hardships of people of color.

Absorbing, Masterful, Informative, Deep, Political

See it if you skipped 13TH because you're not into docs but you're willing to get informed while being thoroughly entertained by Liza Jessie Peterson

Don't see it if you insist on pretending that racism isn't institutionalized in our country via its prisons. (In which case, I hope a friend brings you.)

Absorbing, Ambitious, Edgy, Great acting, Thought-provoking

See it if interested in contemporary issues that have a negative impact on American society or the African American experience in prison system.

Don't see it if You don't like non-linear plays - you don't like one actor plays - not interested in African American experience in U.S. - vulgarity offends

Also One can't see this and then not mention the mesmerizing performance by... Read more Read less

Funny, Ambitious, Masterful, Profound, Relevant

See it if you are socially conscious, passionate, family-oriented, humanitarian, kind hearted, thoughtful, strong, and a fighter.

Don't see it if honestly? if you're a jerk.

Absorbing, Great acting, Masterful, Must see

See it if you want to gain unique insights about the criminal justice universe, you enjoy black culture vernacular ,you've never been to Harlem.

Don't see it if you're a social conservative, like traditional theatre interiors, can't accept criticisms of the criminal justice systems.

Absorbing, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Relevant

See it if You like drama; current issues; a cold dose of reality

Don't see it if You don't like heavy subject matter; don't like urban dialogue

During previews
Ambitious, Intelligent, Relevant, Powerful

See it if One-woman show, several appealing characters, good writing/acting. Political (happily, not about Trump), important, insightful, even funny.

Don't see it if Heavy issues are not your "thing," even if made entertaining.

During previews
Absorbing, Relevant, Great writing, Entertaining

See it if Although the preview we saw had technical difficulties and ended early, this is a tour de force show that we will go back and see again.

Don't see it if Don't like to hear that the USA is not entirely a 'shining city on a hill'

During previews
Great acting, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Too long, Great staging

See it if you want to see an excellent actress bring prison visitation procedures to life while adding humor to her indictment of the "justice"system.

Don't see it if you don't have any interest in the criminal "justice" system or don't like one-person shows that last almost 2 hours without intermission.

Also I have very limited experience in visiting incarcerated acquaintances ... Read more Read less

During previews
Absorbing, Clever, Edgy, Great acting, Confusing

See it if you are are interested in the US booming economy in the penal system and the slavery racket it has become for the disenfranchised.

Don't see it if you are off to jail soon or don't like one person shows, or if you dont like bad dramaturgy that is confusing.