‘Black When I Was A Boy – Part II, Blacked Out’

By Ernest Kearney  —  This is the second installment of the autobiographical tale Cooper Bates first introduced to Hollywood Fringe audiences in 2018.  That show, like this one, follows his journey from the small town of Hill City, Kansas as he tries to realize his dreams of an acting career.

In this chapter, we are shown how quickly a young man’s dreams can darken into nightmares as exploiters bait their traps with the hopes of others.

Bates, in telling his story, introduces us to those he leaves and those he encounters but, at its core, this is a story of overcoming the brutality others may inflict on us; the survival not only of oneself but of one’s dreams.

Bates, and Director Frankie Louise, however, have muted the power and impact of that core.

Bates portrays all the assorted characters within the piece and portrays them skillfully – but not succinctly.  There is excess in the telling and some repetition in the tale which doesn’t serve to sharpen the piece.  Too much time is given to characters whose primary function in the narrative is that they are going to be left.  Bates recounts the brutality that befalls him in gut-twisting detail, but afterward, we are denied his resurrection.

Fringe Award-Gold Medal-The TVolution

But for Bates’ intense and courageous performance: a Gold Medal.


Learn More at cooperbates.com

Black When I Was A Boy – Part II Blacked Out 
playing during the Hollywood Fringe Festival 2023
at the
Hudson Theatres (Hudson Guild),in Hollywood.

For Hollywood Fringe Festival Details, Black When I Was A Boy – Part II Blacked Out Show Information, and Tickets Click HERE.


Written by

An award-winning L.A. playwright and rabble-rouser of note who has hoisted glasses with Orson Welles, been arrested on three continents and once beat up Charlie Manson. His first play, "Among the Vipers" was a semi-finalist in the Julie Harris Playwriting Competition and was featured in the Carnegie-Mellon Showcase of New Plays. It was produced at the NPT Theater in Ashland, Oregon and Los Angeles’ celebrated Odyssey Ensemble Theatre. His following play, “The Little Boy Who Loved Monsters” was produced at The Hollywood Actors Theater, where he earned praise from the Los Angeles Times for his “…inordinately creative writing.” The play went on to numerous other productions including Berlin’s The Black Theatre under the direction of Rainer Fassbinder who wrote in his program notes of Kearney, “He is a skilled playwright, but more importantly he is a dangerous one.” Ernest Kearney has worked as literary manager or as dramaturge for among others The Hudson Theater Guild, Nova Diem and the Odyssey Ensemble Theatre, where he still serves on the play selection committee. He has been the recipient of two Dramalogue Awards and a finalist or semi-finalist, three times, in the Julie Harris Playwriting Competition. His work has been performed by Michael Dunn, Sandra Tsing Loh, Jack Colvin and Billy Bob Thornton, and to date, either as playwright or director, he has upwards of a hundred and thirty productions under his belt, including a few at the Bob Baker Marionette Theater as puppeteer. Kearney remains focused on his writing, as well as living happily ever after with his lovely wife Marlene. His stage reviews and social essays can be found at TheTVolution.com and workingauthor.com. Follow him on Facebook.

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