Black When I Was A Boy

solo performance · seeker · Ages 12+ · one person show · United States of America

Add Your Review

certified reviewers


all reviewers


all press

MISTY MONROE CLARK certified reviewer June 11, 2018
tagged as: powerful · revealing · vulnerable · Excellent!
See this show! It is well acted and performed. A brillant and vulnerable look into the life of a Black boy navigating through racism while fighting to maintain his dignity. Sheer theatrical excellence.... full review
ALANNA RAMAGE certified reviewer June 12, 2018
tagged as: dynamic · visceral · compelling
Cooper's story told through the embodiment of characters in his one-man show will rip your balls off and tear your heart open. I saw this show during the week of celebrity suicides. I thought, Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain MISSED THIS. THIS IS WHAT MAKES LIFE WORTHWHILE. ... full review
ARIA MCLAUCHLAN certified reviewer June 14, 2018
tagged as: funny · powerful · relevant · timely · coming of age · Race
A must see! The performance is raw, funny(!) and powerful, and the twists and turns of the story repeatedly took my breath away. Cooper the performer is as disarming and clever as Cooper the boy clearly was. This show is a welcome breath of fresh air in an otherwise heavy and difficult conversation about race. ... full review
NED CLARK certified reviewer June 15, 2018
What an outstanding piece of work. Cooper is a consummate performer and seeing him deliver these very personal stories from his childhood brings up a whirlwind of emotions. From the very funny, to the heartbreaking, to the rueful, and beyond. I rarely have been so moved by a one man show. But to call it a one man show feels wrong because Cooper brings so many people to life over the course of this work! Childhood friends and family alike are illustrated immaculately by his both his acting and storytelling craft. Cooper is the real deal - and this showcases his talent admirably. Bravo my friend.... full review
ANDREW BOYLE certified reviewer June 16, 2018
Incredible story. Masterful performance. Deeply informative and provocative. This is a profound story about human belonging that could inspire greater understanding of ourselves and the people in our lives. Highly recommended.... full review
CHERYL WILSON certified reviewer June 16, 2018
Black when I was a Boy engages the audience from the moment the introduction is done to the very end. It is a poignant and very relatable tale of growing up that encourages self circumspection. Cooper is a remarkable ,talented actor who can bring the audience to feel the emotions and the tone of the setting. Audio visuals are good yet do not detract from observing Cooper. It is a play that one can see again and again. I highly recommend it.... full review
CAROLYN NEMO certified reviewer June 16, 2018
What an incredible show! Cooper is an amazing storyteller! His presence captures you the minute he sets foot on that stage! ... full review
NICOLE LEMOINE certified reviewer June 16, 2018
tagged as: racism · coming of age · black
Cooper Bates held my attention and had me interested in hearing any and all of the stories he had to tell. Based on his experience growing up the only black boy in Hill City, Kansas, in the 70s, he will take you on a ride through the pain and triumphs of his life and how that shapes him to this very day. Gripping and raw. The hour flew by.... full review
P Q certified reviewer June 16, 2018
Mind Blown. This is a play everyone would benefit from watching.Yes his life stories were entertaining, unpredictable and occasionally downright funny. But when I realized how seemingly uneventful acts of normal life can result in deeply racist emotional scarring, whether intentional or not, it made me rethink American cultural history and it's impact today. His stories shared the horrors of modern racism through everyday experiences that anyone of us could've had ourselves, whether on the giving or receiving end. Hearing about his coping mechanisms though out his life conquering such adversities also provided much needed hope for all of us. Cooper's stories are not easily forgotten, nor should they be.... full review
PAM LEVIN certified reviewer June 17, 2018
I absolutely loved this show, “Black When I Was A Boy.” Cooper Bates tells a very powerful story. This was truly a stellar performance with beautiful storytelling! I highly recommend! ... full review