Candrice Jones’s play FLEX, named for a basketball play, tells the story of people whose lives aren’t often acknowledged or celebrated, Black adolescent girls in the rural south. The story takes place in 1997 in Plainnole, Arkansas — a town that's too small to hold the dreams of the seniors on the girl's basketball team.
Jones, a native of Dermott, AR, tells a timeless and timely story that embraces each character's challenges, hopes, fears, and successes. Jones masterfully embraces the culture of southeast Arkansas by using the language, songs, basketball pastime, and faith practices throughout the play. She pulls back the curtains on life in rural southeast Arkansas and tells a universal story in a way that honors and celebrates each character through seamless storytelling.
In addition to the writing, the production is an excellent balance of narrative and movement through actual basketball play. The play perfectly weaves life lessons, humor, and tension that keeps the play engaging. FLEX brilliantly captures the desire to win in life and on the court by any means necessary.
FLEX covers issues such as access to healthcare, pregnancy, rural migration and return, music, faith, friendship, sex, and teamwork. The writing has rhythm, and language flows in a way that has never been this familiar to me on a stage or screen. Maybe it’s so familiar because I am from southeast Arkansas also.
Jones’s ability to capture culture and combine it with masterful storytelling makes FLEX a must-see play.