A Jewel Thief, Profiled at Weeksville

From “The Guide to Getting What’s Yours” by Chelsea D. Harrison (Photo by Dexter Jones, via Bklyner)

“The Guide to Getting What’s Yours,” a one-woman show about Doris Payne, a masterful jewel thief who kept using “charm and misdirection” into her 80s to obtain gems, can be seen on Saturday, March 10 and Wednesday, March 14 at the Weeksville Heritage Center in Brooklyn. The play is based on an earlier documentary, “The Life and Crimes of Doris Payne.” Chris Farrell writes in Bklyner about the forthcoming show, and talked with playwright Chelsea D. Harrison.

“I definitely think her style of stealing appeals to people,” Harrison said. “In the documentary, someone refers to her as one of the greatest actresses in American history. I agree with that statement. How could a brown-skinned American black woman earn the trust of foreign store clerks? They handed her the jewels. That takes a level of sophistication and intelligence that we don’t usually see in crime history.”

The production, comprised of poetry, portraiture, music, and dance, uses Payne’s life and crimes to ponder the way we each create our own identity.

For more on the show, and how it explores Payne’s life “as a jumping off point to have a broader conversation about gender, race, colonization, and a host of other topics,” in the words of the playwright, go to Bklyner.

The Guide to Getting What’s Yours 
Saturday, March 10 at 6pm and Wednesday, March 14 at 7:30pm
Weeksville Heritage Center, 158 Buffalo Avenue, Crown Heights
Tickets $15

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