BEEF (Promise Tomorrow Today*)
The backdrop is Alphabet City, Avenue D. Winter 2001-02. A historic hip-hop battle is broadcast on Hot 97: Jay-Z vs. Nas. Soul music plays from a record player. Witness the fractious reunion between a would-be rapper, his reluctant childhood friend, and in between, a troubled young hustler who can’t remember where her days went.
From the Press Release:
BEEF consists of interconnected acts performed out-of-sequence, inspired by two generations of musical genres: Hip Hop and Soul. The first act, inspired by the competitive aggression of Hip Hop, is set in the midst of the Jay-Z vs. Nas rivalry of 2001, taking place during the turmoil of New York City’s post 911 numbness. Two best friends struggle to salvage their relationship, taking sides against one another when confronted with the possibility of deception by a female hustler. The second act, taking place exactly one month earlier, is inspired by the recycled Soul samples Hip Hop musicians use to create their art. Revealing the origins and truth of the character’s connections to one another, the second act, like the music that inspires it, proves to be an invaluable insight into the previously discovered world of the play, inseparable yet essential.
"Beef explores the sensitive issues of what constitutes a contemporary family and what are our responsibilities to members of such a family...Dial's provocative script crackles from page one...the 78th Street Lab Theatre has never been put to better use."
BEEF was originally produced by Slant Theater Project, directed by Adam Knight, featuring Nick Mills, Kristen Friedlander, Jacob Ming-Trent, and Robert Karma Robinson.
Further revised, and produced under the title Promise Tomorrow Today, as part of the 2010 Downtown Urban Theater Festival, it was awarded the *Best New Play Award, directed by Jacob Titus, featuring Robert Karma Robinson, James Fauvell, Richie McCall, and Meredith Holcomb.