The Great Privation: How To Flip 10 Cents Into A Dollar

Full-Length Play, Drama  /  2w, 2m

The Great Privation is about Grave Robbing: Grave Robbing during the early 1800’s. Grave Robbing during the Cholera outbreak. Grave Robbing in Pennsylvania. Robbing of Black bodies for medical research. Black bodies that were commodified even after death. Black bodies that never got their rest.

The Great Privation: How To Flip 10 Cents Into A Dollar

  • Cast Size
    Cast Size
    2w, 2m
  • Duration
    90 minutes
  • Audience
    Target Audience
  • 2023 Theatre503 International Playwriting Award Finalist


In early 1800’s Pennsylvania, a mother and daughter keep vigil at a grave. Today, at a Summer Camp on the same grounds, a new, yet not entirely different mother and daughter navigate a new, yet not entirely different landscape. Alongside them, two distinct male figures move in and out of both sets of lives, threatening to unearth dark truths – or to help create them. As timelines collide and secrets and lives become buried and revealed, a reckoning comes calling to them all: the roots to our ancestors are not as long as we may think.
The Great Privation (How to flip ten cents into a dollar) was first produced by and performed at Theatre503, London, on 14 May 2024.
Cast Attributes
CHARITY & CHARITY (MODERN DAY) — She/Her. Black. 16. Of Darker skin tone. 1832, funny, busy, intense. Modern day, very hyperactive and bubbly. Slightly hood-whimsical. A very physically comedic actor.
MOTHER & MOTHER (MODERN DAY) (MISSY FREEMAN) — She/Her. Black. 34. Six feet tall. 1832, Private. In Control. Funny.
JOHN & JOHN (MODERN DAY) — He/Him/They/Them. White. 25. Redhead. Blonde is fine too. 1832, Outgoing. Lacks empathy. avoidant. modern day, gives musical theater energy.
JANITOR & CUFFEE (MODERN DAY) — He/Him. Black. 32. Tall in stature and presence. 1832, Loud. Unapologetic. Bold. Modern day, huggable. Lovable. Shy. Silly. Just wants everyone to have STRUCTURED FUN.
  • Time Period Contemporary, American Civil War Era
  • Duration 90 minutes


“A play that stops you in your tracks.” — London Pub Theatres

“A great investigation into the legacy and manifestations of racism in the present day.” — All That Dazzles

“A generous play filled with wit, vivid characters, and clever observations on systemic inequalities and the generational gap in African American experiences.” — North West End UK

“An enjoyable and emotional watch.” — The Rendition

“An inspired premiere.” — The Reviews Hub

“Thrilling” — The Stage

“[A] genuinely ambitious tale of robbing black bodies.” — The Telegraph

Licensing & Materials

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Nia Akilah Robinson

Nia Akilah Robinson (she/her) is a playwright and actor who reps Harlem with all her might. She will have a London premiere of her play The Great Privation, at Theatre503. The Hearth is producing Nia’s play PUSH PARTY at TheatreLab in New York City. In the fall, she will be a ...
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