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Cullud Wattah


Martinson Theater November 2 - December 12, 2021 2 hours, 15 minutes with one 15 minute intermisson

World Premiere
By Erika Dickerson-Despenza
Directed by Candis C. Jones

2021 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize winner Erika Dickerson-Despenza’s new Afro-surrealist play premieres at The Public about three generations of Black women living through the current water crisis in Flint, Michigan. It’s been 936 days since Flint has had clean water. Marion, a third-generation General Motors employee, is consumed by layoffs at the engine plant. When her sister, Ainee, seeks justice and restitution for lead poisoning, her plan reveals the toxic entanglements between the city and its most powerful industry, forcing their family to confront the past-present-future cost of survival. As lead seeps into their home and their bodies, corrosive memories and secrets rise among them. Will this family ever be able to filter out the truth? Directed by Lilly Award winner Candis C. Jones, CULLUD WATTAH blends form and bends time, diving deep into the poisonous choices of the outside world, the contamination within, and how we make the best choices for our families’ futures when there are no real, present options. CULLUD WATTAH comes to us from the same playwright and director duo behind the thrilling digital production of shadow/land.


Health & Safety

As we return to live, indoor performances, we all must play our part around Health and Safety. All audience members will be required to show proof of a complete vaccination for access into the facility for performances and events. Our staff and the artists are also completely vaccinated. Learn about all current protocols with Safe at The Public.

Production Effect Advisories

CULLUD WATTAH will include haze the use of haze during the production.If you have questions regarding the content of this production or our production effect advisories, please call 212.967.7555 or email us at [email protected].


  • Large Print and Braille playbills are available. Playbills may be obtained from the house manager or the ticket taker upon entering the theater of the performance you are attending.
  • CULLUD WATTAH Accessible PDF Playbill


Image of Crystal Dickinson

Crystal Dickinson


Image of Jennean Farmer

Jennean Farmer

Understudy Marion/Ainee

Image of Lizan Mitchell

Lizan Mitchell

Big Ma

Image of Ta’Neesha Murphy

Ta’Neesha Murphy

Understudy Plum/Reesee

Image of Andrea Patterson

Andrea Patterson


Image of Alicia Pilgrim

Alicia Pilgrim


Image of Chavez Ravine

Chavez Ravine

Understudy Big Ma

Image of Lauren F. Walker

Lauren F. Walker



Erika Dickerson-Despenza
Candis C. Jones
Adam Rigg
Scenic Design
Kara Harmon
Costume Design
Jeanette Oi-Suk Yew
Lighting Design
Sinan Refik Zafar
Sound Design and Composition
Earon Nealey
Hair, Wigs, and Make-Up
Justin Hicks
Original Composition
Adesola Osakalumi
Movement Direction
Janelle Caso
Production Stage Manager



CULLUD WATTAH was developed by Erika Dickerson-Despenza as the 2019-2020 Tow Playwright-in-Residence at The Public Theater. This production is made possible by the Laurents/Hatcher Foundation. Additional support provided by an Edgerton Foundation New Play Award. This work was commissioned by the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation.