Jeremy O. Harris’ Fictitious Play Featured on Gossip Girl Commissioned by The Public Theater

A play written by Jeremy O. Harris, featured in the third episode of the Gossip Girl reboot on HBO Max, has been commissioned by The Public Theater. A scene of The Bloody and Lamentable Tale of Aaron, a sort-of sequel to Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus, made its way into the show after a conversation with series creator Joshua Safran.

The New York Times reports The Public’s Artistic Director Oskar Eustis asked Harris to commission the complete work while they both filmed a cameo for the episode (Harris will return later in the season). The play follows the child of Tamora and Aaron, also named Aaron, in a fit of revenge after the events of Titus leave both parents dead.

“The thing that I think makes Aaron a complex character in literature is because he’s like, ‘I’m evil because I’m Black,’” Harris says of Shakespeare’s tragedy. “And this time, he’s like, ‘No, I’m evil because you guys have socialized me. You have socialized rules around what Black means and what maleness means.’”

A timeline and further creatives for the production—the play isn’t even fully written yet—will be announced at a later date. Machel Ross directed the play within the episode; Harris says his hope is that she remain on board with the production downtown.

Harris is known for such works as Slave Play and Daddy, the former currently up for 12 Tony Awards (the most for any play). The ceremony is set to take place September 26 at the Winter Garden Theatre.