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Smooth Criminal

Smooth Criminal is a hip-hop play about a nerdy white guy, A-Aron, desperate to liberate his people – as soon as he can figure out who they are. As A-Aron freaks out about the vast inequality within his own family, his white parents and Black and Latine friends begin following the money – and the white race – to its source, pulling ghosts out of A-Aron’s closets to figure out what the *$%! to do. Smooth Criminal invites the (often ridiculous) ancestors and future generations in to argue with each other, hoping to crack the links between whiteness and money, and lay bare the raw hearts beneath. To thump the audience’s raw hearts, Smooth Criminal  uses poetic and movement prompts built into the show to bump and grind its race and class issues with yours. Based on the playwright’s almost-entirely-true-but-don’t-fact-check-with-his-parents life story.


a hip-hop play by Aaron Jafferis

commissioned by yo mama

“candid, intimate, and even funny,

charging at systemic racism with a very sharp and incisive sword

and coming out victorious, but not without lots of pointed questions,

and enough baggage to shoulder all of them... It’s this sense of curiosity

and experiment in Jafferis the actor and Jafferis the person, often met with unflinching honesty and self-discovery, that takes the work from an interesting think piece on wealth- and race-based systems of oppression to something urgent, something that New Haven (and many cities around the country) arguably needs right now. Jafferis isn’t just painting pictures for his audience, he’s urging it to start talking about something messy and difficult, and using himself as a sort of patient zero.”

-Lucy Gellman, The Arts Paper


Smooth Criminal readings invite (but never require!) audience members to write, draw, or move in response to questions during the show.

Smooth Criminal is a beatbox-and-violin-infused musical with multiple actors. It began as a solo spoken word show. In the videos at left, you can travel back in time to hear some of those original words, spoken.

The performance includes a series of interactive prompts which invite audience members to create personal poetry and drawings in response to Smooth Criminal.


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