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Teen Playwright Reimagines Zimmerman Trial in 'Black Boy Fly'

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After graduating high school, many students work a part-time job, or simply relax over the summer before college. But Jordan Cooper is busy writing and producing plays.

The Texas Standard's David Brown speaks with the 18-year-old playwright about his passion for drama. Coopers' play "Black Boy Fly" is being performed at the Jubilee Theatre in the Dallas/Fort-Worth area this upcoming weekend.

The inspiration to write has been with Cooper ever since he was five-years-old. "I would always used to scribble things on a piece of paper and call everyone into the living room – and at 7 p.m. it was showtime," he says.

Throughout his childhood, Cooper would produce plays by working odd jobs to pay for them out-of-pocket. This dedication attracted the attention of Tre Garrett, artistic director of the Jubilee Theatre. He invited Cooper to help stage a play of his own, with the proceeds going to Cooper's college fund.

"Black Boy Fly" explores the George Zimmerman trial from a dramatic perspective.

The main character is a fictional young black man serving on Zimmerman’s defense team; the piece envisions the conversations and situations that would accompany the situation.

Cooper aims to create a conversation about race in his work. “I hope that’s what people take away from it, that they need to talk,” he says.

David entered radio journalism thanks to a love of storytelling, an obsession with news, and a desire to keep his hair long and play in rock bands. An inveterate political junkie with a passion for pop culture and the romance of radio, David has reported from bases in Washington, London, Los Angeles, and Boston for Monitor Radio and for NPR, and has anchored in-depth public radio documentaries from India, Brazil, and points across the United States and Europe. He is, perhaps, known most widely for his work as host of public radio's Marketplace. Fulfilling a lifelong dream of moving to Texas full-time in 2005, Brown joined the staff of KUT, launching the award-winning cultural journalism unit "Texas Music Matters."
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