Writing/Work Samples

An Excerpt from Tapes, by Cherrye J. Davis
Workshop/Reading Produced by The Movement Theater Company,  Spring 2013

The following section takes place in a Post 9/11 NYC. Throughout the play, 6 characters step into their own corner of NYC, sharing a post/911 story. There are 3 moments where they drop their individual characters and meet on the bridge. This is the second instance. The bridge is where they cipher on their gripes and their joys. They battle/share/ flirt/connect and fight over the question , “What are you made of?”.

(The audience drops into a train already in motion. It is 10 minutes before rush hour starts. Dawn pours through the windows as the lights flicker. As the light pours in, the ensemble starts.)

Elite 2 (We Forget)
Dy: We don’t talk during the morning commute; That’s the main difference, Our silence is our respect.

Fern: We don’t stop moving
Xi: What the fuck is this mountain of black ice?
Crystal: We love our politicians
Cedric: Fuck a Bloomberg
Crystal: Just kidding,We hate our politicians.
Ines: We don’t drive.
Fern: We don’t use our inside voices.
Dy: Fuck NYU.
Cedric: I don’t know how to stay in on Friday Night.
Dy: And, Fuck a Columbia, too.
Xi: We don’t wear shit with I, Hearts, or New York on It Curly: I left for Florida September 12th for fear
Crystal: We don’t watch documentaries in September. Dy: We leave, but never abandon the concrete.
All: We hate Times Square.
Xi: This old lady flipped me the bird in Bensonhurst. Curly: We talk about kicking terrorist ass.
Fern: I remember the blackout.
Dy: I remember the Summer of Sam.

Crystal: I don’t remember ever going to the Statue of Liberty Xi: You remember gun checks at the Tunnel?
Cedric: I remember giving blood after Katrina.
Curly: I remember every single year.

Ines-I remember, for sure.
Dy-I just don’t talk about it.
Xi-We just don’t talk about that kind of shit.
Dy-We breathe about it
Fern-It oozes like sweat out of my pores
Ines- It runs down my legs
Crystal-It comes out on wax
Curly-In my bodega coffee
Dy-It comes out eventually, all on its’ own.
Ines-So stop asking how I’m doin’
Xi : How YOU doin.
Ines: So....I just don’t try
Curly: I just don’t
Crystal: That’s how I do
Curly: We just don’t
Fern: We don’t sleep with eyes closed.
Dy: We sleep through sirens
Cedric: I may have cried 7 years after the fact, but I remember All: That’s what we do
Fern: We forget how to drive
Cedric: We forget the cost of a ride
Dy: We forget our invincibility.
Cedric: We forget the cost.
Crystal: We forget construction.

Curly: But we never forget the smell of any of it. Xi: We remember like a motherfucker.

Light Shift. The ensemble jolts as the train loudly screeches into the station. The doors open, the ensemble exits. Dy exits last. As he steps off to exit, the threshold of the train doors becomes a window ledge.

Norah and James, An Excerpt from Tapes, by Cherrye J. Davis
Workshop/Reading Produced by The Movement Theater Company,  Spring 2013

Park Avenue, Midtown. Nora and James speak to the audience. There is construction.


James:  When the 1st beam fell, it hit a telephone wire

Immediately slicing it down the middle,

And sparks rained down.

Nora: When the 1st cloud swept through Wall Street

I thought it was over.

James: When the 1st scream entered my ears….

I’ll never forget

Nora When the 1st plane hit, I took a break from looking down

And looked straight up.

James: When the 1st fireball fell through the sky

I thought it was

Both: Beautiful

Nora: Like a comet.

James: Like a movie.

Nora Like a rocket

James: Like a roman candle

Nora Like a…(squinting, and then realizing what the fireball actually is)

James: like a star (squinting, and then realizing the fireball to be someone falling)

Nora: Like a….

James: Like a…

Nora: stone her body fell, a white shirt, scorched ash

James: I ran through the street

Breathing hard

Over the bridge

Back to Brooklyn

Nora: I coughed through the tunnels

Shoes in hand

Over hours

Back to Queens

James: Back to Normal…

Nora: Back to nothing….

James: I slept

Nora: I spent…

James: I lied

Nora I slept for 3 days, blinds closed

James: I didn’t actually sleep nights, I sat in my closet with my cell-phone light

Nora: No light

James: I could only see black

Nora Opened my eyes 2am one night

James: I didn’t want to open the door

Nora: and I could only hallucinate fireballs

James: the fear of collapse wouldn’t let me

Nora: fireballs cutting through night

James: And then the battery died on my light

Nora: like a meteor shower off the ceiling

James: I opened the door to my closet, and winced at the sun

Nora: I lay watching, waiting for the end

James: I couldn’t wait another day for the end…..

James: I started going to meetings

Nora: There were these meetings I went to, thought they were stupid

James: She was there

Nora: I didn’t want to be

Both: It was October 1st, 2001


Nora: The world was scared

James: Her gaze made me scared

Nora: but I wasn’t

James: She wasn’t

Nora: He began to talk about a fireball

James: There was this fireball

Nora: this fireball slicing through the air

James: with limbs and hair on fire

Nora The same I see every night

James: but different somehow

Nora: How did he know…?

James: I know these memories are cancerous, multiplying in horror over and under

Nora: He knew

James: But it was beautiful, you know, before it…she

Nora: she collapsed like a rag doll into the ground.

James: But, here’s the thing…

Nora: *mimicking his voice and fascination*, Here’s the thing…

James: while she was in flight…she was a phoenix.

Nora: He knew.

James: You know, its’ Yugen

Nora: He rambled about something called Yugen

James: Like, the way a cherry blossom is before bloom, perfect right in the blossom

Nora: Perfect in its potential because, in a day….wilted; gorgeous, unstilted,

like A child before puberty

James: a 15 year old dreaming

Nora: not yet broken

James: Dreaming of being a DJ….


(She looks at him skeptically, then smiles. They catch eyes for the first time)


Nora: An MC…

James: You know how it feels right before the clock

Nora: Right before the shake

James: Right before the drop

Nora: like the heat before the break

James: Like nothing else is there

Nora: Fuck it all, who cares

James: It’s you

Nora: It’s the rhythm

James: and nothing else

Nora: just so much potential

James: I miss that like..

Nora: I want that back..

James: I’m tired…

Nora: I got you

Both: I love that…

James: it’s the potential that’s mesmerizing

Nora: The potential is imminent

James: before, it’s the first second of laughter

Nora: but after, it’s a body, falling from the rafters.

James: I said it….

Nora: He said it was beautiful

Both: Before it hit the ground




James: and She knew..

Nora It was….beautiful.

James: I knew I should feel horrible

Nora: I mean, a body aflame is terrible

James: But somehow

Nora: I saw it

James: I knew

Nora I knew too

James: ugly, lost life once it hit the ground

Nora: But right before

James: potential

Nora I see

James Potential.

Nora: From the 1st breath in the morning

James: potential

Nora From the 1st scream

James: Potential

Nora: From the first glance

(They catch eyes again)


James: I know

She: it may be ugly once it lands

James: probably a disaster

Nora: possibly painful

James: But for now

Nora: As we breathe

James: as we step

Nora: the fire is in the air

James: falling

Nora: and it is

James; (looking to her)...beautiful

Nora: yeah...beautiful.


Her, An Excerpt from Sold!, 

Originally Produced through Playwrights Horizons Theater School, NYC, 2007

8 Women appear from darkness. They Speak.


My Name is











I also go by the name of xx, half of your xy

Aka coppershell

Filled with warm apple pie

The name I go by is





Your daughter

Your mother

Your last breath

Your first kiss


Hello, nice to meet you, I’m not sure, have we met?

My name is woman, I don’t think you know me yet,

Because if you did, I promise that you

Wouldn’t begin to move your tongue to say what you do


I go by the name glory

Some call me divine

My mama named me glory

And my daughter will don me time

And I’m pretty sure

Coulda swore

That my name was all mine

Cause, that glory sits hard at the base of my spine

It lets me walk through Bedstuy

On a cold December day

With my nose held high

Let my hips just sway.

It lets me hear that snake hiss hard

slip under the radar low

Feel the venom and fury rise up my throat

Spit, smile and let it go

Cause I KNOW

He doesn’t know

He doesn’t have a clue

That my glory radiates from my ribs

And he should let his too.

I wish this brotha knew

I was


Patience, personified

You tell me why

would I love you with all heart

even though you make me cry

how I could carry my feelings

my past, your drama, and you

with only the hope of a future.

Daily, this is what I do.

Patience keeps me alive

When I’m tired of you

1 footprint in the sand

This patience carries me through

This patience forgives your missteps

Never giving you away

This patience will run out

But lucky for you, that day is not today


I wish I could only say

I am full of



Be it Allah

Be it Jesus, Mary, Paul

Come Buddha, come Messiah

Come creator, call it all.

This gift pours out into a river of nirvana

Climbs the golden steps, and rains down “Sana Sana colita de rana..”

Joy in my breath wakes me when I just don’t wanna

That Joy is the faith that says “girl, you’re gonna

Try harder,

Dig further,

Care deeper,

Don’t weep”.

This Joy is the heart I give and I keep

Wow. This power within is so deep

It’s called



A higher power named me fire

And every woman before me fanned my desire

For life, Measured in heat

Burning through fear

It’s the passion I harbor

When you come near.

It’s the heart to climb mountains

It’s the flame to take off and just go

It’s the need to feel important

And do what makes that so.

It’s the ability to dash onto Broadway

In 4 inch heels and in 3 seconds, 2 steps

Sweep up that dropped lip gloss

That it took 6 months to find before being

Annihilated by a M15 bus.

That’s passion

For beauty

And body


That fire makes me brave and breathes at my back

And gives me pride in my white, my red, and my black

That’s called



I smile sweetly

Without frustration or care

My spirit keeps me high

Floating by on cool air

Sometimes blowing gentle

Othertimes a fierce gust

My spirit busts through adversity

It’s the backbone I lay my trust


I have no choice, I must

Let my spirit go and just



To get busy

Get low on the mic


To spit game

To the guy YOU really like


To feel good

In a headscarf and some sweats


To be that girl on the block you can never forget


To pull a b on a paper I didn’t even do


To do me, cause I can’t do you


Lets me accept defeat


Guilts watery eyes


Lets my sobs flow down

Into full blown cries

Flow gives me confidence

Don’t need whats, hows, or whys.

My word is my cool

Is my flow is my rise


My flow is a



The way the holidays kiss your nose

The way water flows over skin

And sand surrounds your toes.

The way grandma’s turnip green soup

Slips down and warms your heart

The way a simple embrace from a mother’s arms

Can offer a needed new start

It’s my embrace that cures illness

Clothes the needy and heals the globe

I, xx, came into this world alone

And this touch is all I know


it sets my world aglow,

And that touch must



Change in the name of an O

In a youthful election of a president from Chicago

Change to be better, more efficient, more fair

Change to change the state of our wildlife and our air

It’s the shift of Shiva, creation and destruction

That makes it so I can be

Without destruction there’s no progress

And that inspires me

to destroy racism, annihilate hate,

end discrimination, fight fear

and create joy, birth love,

Inspire justice

And it starts here.


Hello, nice to meet you, I’m not sure, have we met?

My name is woman, and if you don’t know me yet


Know, they call me














Girl if you prefer





Or for short,