To overcome his tragic childhood, James uses anger management techniques to keep The Angry Monster Inside at bay. Now he must convince his friends to use them too. Will Isaiah accept his basketball suspension over the lure of drugs and easy licks? Will Rayvon persevere in the classroom rather than join a gang? Will James be able to convince himself to stay the course after yet another family tragedy?
This show’s main character and much of the script is inspired by Sarge.
We knew him as a talented performer, with a strong, confident baritone voice and an irresistible stage presence. He was a leader in our Firewriters ensemble, and shared with us his painful story—the first time it was read aloud, he had to excuse himself because it was too much for him to bear. Sarge was nine when he saw his mother stabbed at a neighborhood block party. Thinking she was dead, he had to fend for himself for the next two months as his grandmother struggled with addiction. Once reunited with his mom, he learned coping skills in anger management classes that helped him succeed athletically and academically. Sadly, at age thirteen, Sarge lost his older brother to murder and turned to vengeful violence in response.
On November 23, 2018, two weeks after his release from incarceration, Sarge was shot by an off-duty police officer while committing an armed robbery. His story shows the too few options he had, the too few chances at a better life. Sarge will live on in this musical, much of which is based directly on the words he left us. Sarge, we miss you, your bright smile, and your leadership. We will sing for you. Rest in peace.
Read more about Sarge’s impact on this show in a short piece by our Firewriters Apprentice Teaching Artist.