Original Cast Reading of Brutal Imagination

Oppenheimer Award-winning playwright and poet Cornelius Eady, and renowned actors Joe Morton and Sally Murphy, reunite for a reading of Eady’s play Brutal Imagination, which premiered at The Vineyard in 2002 and remains a potent examination of racial injustice in America. Brutal Imagination is based on Eady’s poem cycle exploring the notorious 1994 incident in which Susan Smith, a white woman from South Carolina, claimed that an African American man had kidnapped her children. The FBI searched for the man until Smith confessed the truth: she had invented the man and had drowned the children. Brutal Imagination brings this invented man to life and tells the story from his perspective. The original Vineyard world-premiere production was directed by Diane Paulus, with original music by Diedre L. Murray.

“Resuscitating this frightening invention of racism and desperation and letting him speak for himself is the bold and inspired idea behind ”Brutal Imagination”…. It grabs you instantly and ferociously, and a corresponding excitement glitters through this two-character chamber work.” — The New York Times

Original casting director, Cindy Tolan.

Original Cast Reading of Brutal Imagination

Spring of 2021

By Cornelius Eady
Directed by Joe Morton
With Joe Morton and Sally Murphy


Oppenheimer Award-winning playwright and poet Cornelius Eady, and renowned actors Joe Morton and Sally Murphy, reunite for a reading of Eady’s play Brutal Imagination, which premiered at The Vineyard in 2002 and remains a potent examination of racial injustice in America. Brutal Imagination is based on Eady’s poem cycle exploring the notorious 1994 incident in which Susan Smith, a white woman from South Carolina, claimed that an African American man had kidnapped her children. The FBI searched for the man until Smith confessed the truth: she had invented the man and had drowned the children. Brutal Imagination brings this invented man to life and tells the story from his perspective. The original Vineyard world-premiere production was directed by Diane Paulus, with original music by Diedre L. Murray.

“Resuscitating this frightening invention of racism and desperation and letting him speak for himself is the bold and inspired idea behind ”Brutal Imagination”…. It grabs you instantly and ferociously, and a corresponding excitement glitters through this two-character chamber work.” — The New York Times

Original casting director, Cindy Tolan.

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