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Eisa Davis
Nov 2023
288 pages
5 x 7 inches
paper/perfect bound
ISBN: 978-1732545298

(books shipping in November)

Trained in classical piano and Marxism and raised on jazz, gospel, pop, hip hop, and Black revolutionary politics, Pulitzer Prize finalist Eisa Davis’s plays are marked by her stunning intimacy with the praxis of music alongside radical change. In Angela's Mixtape, time shifts like a mixtape, and like a mixtape, the play is both a memoir and a gift—for us, of course, and for Davis’s aunt, activist and scholar Angela Y. Davis, under whose tutelage Davis reads Das Kapital, learns to drive stick, and hacks her own way toward inheriting her legacy. In The History of Light, Davis counterpoints the intertwining fates of two couples under racialized pressures a generation apart. Lush with the sound of the grand piano, The History of Light is a study in black and white, love and alienation. Underlying the political clarity and formal virtuosity of Davis’s writing are the unexpected crackles of a voice warming up, the crunchiness of missed notes. Because for an artist concerned, like Davis, with how we become who we are and might be, error is a necessary instrument—maybe the sounding weight.


“More than a half century after the anchoring events in Angela’s Mixtape, I deeply appreciate the care with which Eisa constructed the multiple levels of meaning in this play. As an inspiration for one of the characters, I find that her skillful writing opens up the possibility to find humor, but also deep meaning, in struggle, and her creative use of the mixtape form offers new ways to examine the relationship between history, family, art and politics. But most of all, I remain immensely proud of my brilliant and talented niece, whose art continues to usher in new possibilities for cultural work to transform our world.”
—Angela Y. Davis

“There is a famed quote by Arundhati Roy, ‘another world is possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.’ Might other worlds, other configurations exist alongside us already? Might the choices reported occlude other choices made? In the case of the United States of America, there remain hidden histories, realities, and future dreams that signal from outside the fray, that call to us to remember other degrees of perception, and that prod us out of the bottleneck. Eisa Davis has been here all along. Angela’s Mixtape is a so-fresh tale of intersecting multiple truths, belonging to another world, wherein love in action, through the most challenging human circumstances, reframes change to say, ‘she’s good.’”
—Daniel Alexander Jones

Angela’s Mixtape is a significant portrait of the Bay Area, a masterful realization of that American landscape. Like literature, it is a powerful document that defines an important culture. How wonderful to grow up in that air.”
—Adrienne Kennedy

“Eisa Davis is one of the most outstanding and uniquely creative artists I know. Her understanding of humanity in all its phases, genders, ages and hopes is eclipsed by none. This work is a journey, a crusade that, once you embark upon it, the potential for fundamental change is intrinsic.”
—Walter Mosley
"Inventive, funny and playful, Angela's Mixtape is a wonderfully imaginative origin story of a writer and musician discovering the power and beauty of her own voice."
—Lynn Nottage
“in the writing of eisa davis the self-mythologizing pageantry and posturing of the Black vernacular goes toe to toe with an empathic and high poetic politics of the interpersonal that never denies our bluest dream states, roaming-charged desires or powerful will to world class madness.”
—Greg Tate

“…an engaging new free-form autobiographical show….an affectionate tribute to her aunt as well as a memoir of her own unusual upbringing, Angela’s Mixtape is a rhythmic collage of scenes, songs and reminiscences. This appropriately turbulent and quite funny show about the forces that influence the forging of identity…[is] rich in humor and crazy paradox…the strange juxtaposition of the prosaic trials of adolescence and the urgent radicalism of the family politics is what gives the show its own distinctive identity.”
The New York Times

“…transports audiences back several decades to a moment in history with eerie echoes forward into the present. Themes of the fight against racism, economic inequality, and oppression are as alive now as they were then. The central theme, the painful and confusing quest for identity, is timeless…Angela’s Mixtape is a wild ride in a time machine, a tough story told with love, humor and wisdom.”
MV Times

“It’s lucky for us that Eisa Davis grew up to be an actor and a playwright (and a singer and a dancer) rather than a radical like her aunt Angela; otherwise we wouldn’t have been so thoroughly entertained by her play, a wacky depiction of growing up an innocent around sixties revolutionaries.…A revealing portrait of a young artist struggling to find herself…The cast of five women, including the multitalented playwright, is fully committed to what might be the Obama generation’s For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf.”
The New Yorker, Best of Off-Broadway Theatre for 2009


Eisa Davis is a writer, composer, and performer. A recipient of a USA Artists Fellowship, Creative Capital Award, an AUDELCO, an Obie for Sustained Excellence in Performance and the Herb Alpert Award in Theater, Eisa was also a Pulitzer Prize finalist for her play Bulrusher. Along with her thirteen full-length stageworks, she has written for television, recorded two albums of original music, Something Else and Tinctures, and directed a short film, Remembrance. Notable performance work includes Kindred, Mare of Easttown, The Wire, Kings, The Essentialisn’t, the musical of The Secret Life of Bees, and Passing Strange. An alumna of New Dramatists, Eisa has received residencies, awards and fellowships from Sundance Theater Lab, the Hermitage Artist Retreat, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the Helen Merrill Foundation, the Van Lier and Mellon Foundations, and Cave Canem. Eisa lives in Brooklyn, NY.
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