Inspired by the real-life murder of Botham Jean that took place in Dallas, TX, FOR BO unpacks the unfortunate tragedy that befalls the Jones family when brother and son Bo Jones is murdered in his own home by police officer Amy Guy. Through contemporary free verse poetry, rhythm, percussion, and dance this fictional narrative explores the social issues that lead to Bo Jones’ death and how society, particularly the black community, grapples with the resulting trauma through social media. With nods to the subsequent murders of Atatiana Jefferson and George Floyd, audiences witness the struggle of Bo’s mother and little brother to psychologically and emotionally heal as they witness other black bodies unjustly fall at the hands of police. Most of all, FOR BO reminds us of the monumental, life-changing weight of our decisions – that each thought and action has the power to change tomorrow for worse or for better.
Existing as both a stage play and film adaptation, FOR BO has garnered a host of national honors. It is a 2020 and 2021 finalist for the prestigious Eugene O’Neill National Playwrights Conference; the 2022 runner up for the Judith Royer Excellence in Playwriting Award presented by The Association for Theatre in Higher Education and the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival; and a quarter finalist for Third Culture Theatre’s 2022 NEXUS Festival made possible by WarnerMedia. For Bo received its first public staged reading at Texas Christian University where it was performed by Theatre TCU students, directed by the playwright, Ayvaunn Penn, and embraced by the same Dallas-Fort Worth news media that reported on Jean’s tragic murder in his Dallas apartment. This premier staged reading and community discussion of For Bo is highlighted in Texas Christian University earning the 2020 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award presented by INSIGHT Into Diversity Magazine.
The film adaptation of FOR BO was an official selection for three 2021 film festivals across the country including Silicon Valley African Film Festival (Honorable Mention), Gary International Black Film Festival, and Lone Star Film Festival (Special Screening at The Museum of Modern Art of Fort Worth). Rising to the top 11% of thousands of submissions from around the world, FOR BO was also a third round finalist for the 2022 Ann Arbor Film festival — one of the few Academy Award-qualifying film festivals in the country.