Aaron Jafferis is writing a play. About a true story. New York City. 1999. A white police officer enrages a city by beating and sexually assaulting Abner Louima with a broken broomstick in a Brooklyn police precinct. The officer awaits sentencing in maximum security isolation in a cell next to anti-police brutality leader Antonio “King Tone” Fernandez, Inca of the Latin Kings gang.Aaron Jafferis is writing a play, so he interviews King Tone in a visiting room cage. Aaron insists he’s not just a white writer making money off others’ stories—he wants to build the movement against police brutality by bringing to light the truths the officer is whispering to Tone through the cell walls each night. Tone says he’ll only talk if Aaron shares credits and royalties.
Aaron Jafferis and Antonio “King Tone” Fernandez are writing a play. About a true story. Theirs. As the stories of Tone, Aaron and the police officer intertwine, the lines between them – and the lines between truth and drama – blur. The long arm of the law and the long arm of the playwright wrestle. Who is pulling the strings? Who is loosening screws in memories, rewriting history as it happens, tightening the bulletproof glass walls of the visiting room?A play is writing Aaron Jafferis and Antonio Fernandez.
Our workshopping and public reading of Tell was made possible by the generous support of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.