Graphic by Ibn Sharif Shakoor



BY: Nikkole Salter


THE STORY:  2010, Essex County, NJ.  When Denitra loses the

charter school lottery for her daughter, she must find another way

to escape from their underperforming neighborhood school. The 

answer seems like a risk well worth taking, but may end up re-

quiring a bigger sacrifice than she ever could have imagined. Set

over a half-century after Brown Versus The Board of Education, 

LINES IN THE DUST questions how far we've come and more importantly, where we go from here.  (Luna Stage Commission)



Two Acts

2 Women, 1 Man

LINES IN THE DUST was commissioned by and received its world premiere at Luna Stage, October 9 - November 9 , 2014, directed by Reginald Douglas.  For information, photos, videos, audio and links to reviews and press from the Luna Stage production, and other productions this play has had, click here.  The Jersey City Theatre Center's production plays October 18 - November 9, 2019 at JCTC's Merseles Studio and the West Side Threatre in Jersey City, NJ.  The creative team is as follows:


Starring: (l to r) Kerry Vivian Mantle, Tasha R. Williams-Arroyo, & Chaz McCormack

Lighting Design:  Sarah Murphy                                    Scenic Design: Grigory Gurevich
Costume Design: Eden Tayar                                         Sound Design: Donald Stark

Projection Designer: Isabelle Duverger & Laia Cabrera Stage Manager:  Nabi Abdurakhmanov

LINKS TO PRESS​ & REVIEWS from the JCTC Production

Review: NJArts - NJ-set ‘Lines in the Dust’ illuminates inequities in education system

By Jim Testa - 10/22/2019

"The play provides a voice to all sides...[Tasha] Williams and [Kerry] Mantle do a magnificent job of capturing the nuances of their characters... “Lines in the Dust” makes for gritty, gripping theater, shining a light — and hopefully, opening a dialogue — on the institutional inequities of our public education system."


Feature: Premiering in Jersey City Oct. 18, playwright’s ‘Lines in the Dust’ explores unequal education system

By David Menzies 10/17/2019

"Salter wrote “Lines in the Dust,” in part, to transform her frustration about this into something productive,” she said. “I believe the Western worldview is literally and largely unnatural - it is constructed in opposition to the truth of nature. We – and I say ‘we’ because I’m indoctrinated in the Western world too – look at the way nature is ordered, and we assign the order value. … Our system of education reflects our view that some people are more valuable, and therefore more worthy of investment, dignity, and support, than others.  That is a fundamentally untrue and unnatural outlook. I hope I can see a worldwide paradigm shift away from this fear-based domination thinking and toward an alignment with the truth of nature in my lifetime. I suppose this play, and others, are my offered contributions to that effect.”


Feature: NJ Stage - Lines in the Dust: JCTC Revives New Jersey Play About Race, Class & Public Education

By  - 10/10/2019

"Although fictional, Lines in the Dust is based on true events and real lives. The play’s ‘context issue’ may be school residency fraud, but the heart of its story are people struggling to maintain a sense of value in an amoral, hierarchal societal system where access to quality education often determines who has power. 

If anything, the issue of educational disparity has only gotten more dire since Lines in the Dust premiered in 2014. Budget cuts, overcrowded classrooms and understaffing afflict schools across [Hudson] county, especially with populations made up of working class and multiracial families. In Jersey City alone, more than 200 public school teachers were fired last May....

“I saw this play when it first opened and was so impressed with how intelligently written it is,” said Olga Levina, Artistic Director, JCTC.  “With all the problems with Jersey City schools, especially in neighborhoods like Greenville and Westside, the time is right to bring this new production of Lines in the Dust to Jersey City. What is happening with public education is just another form of segregation. Our children are our future, and how we educate all our children will determine what that future will be.”"


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