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Pure Confidence

Written By - Carlyle Brown
  • Directed by - Marya Mazor

Sacred Fools Black Box Theatre
1076 Lillian Way, Los Angeles, 90038

  • Director Marya Mazor
  • Dramaturge Dylan Southard
  • Dialect Work By Adam Michael Rose
  • Casting Director Raul Clayton Staggs
  • Stage Manager Rita Cofield
  • Set Designer Tom Buderwitz
  • Costume Designer Mylette Nora
  • Lighting Designer Pablo Santiago
  • Projections Desginer Nick Santiago
  • Sound Designer John Nobori
  • Producer Racquel Lehrman, Theatre Planners
  • Properties Designer Michael Allen Angel
  • Graphic Designer Daryl Grace Newmark

The high-stakes world of Civil War–era horse racing is the stage for this riveting drama of slavery and Reconstruction. Both Simon Cato, a smart, cocky 'colored' jockey, and his horse, Pure Confidence, are owned by Colonel Wiley Johnson. Cato uses his wits and his championship winnings to buy his and his wife's freedom. But the Civil War changes everything, and the passage of time doesn't bring Cato the success he expects in this surprisingly funny, daring and emotionally moving look at the complexity of race, humanity, love and dignity in the second half of the nineteenth century. With a vivid backdrop of fast horses, gritty racetracks and high-stakes betting, PURE CONFIDENCE is an extraordinary tale of human triumphs and failings that explores the true meaning of freedom.


  • "Go. Thoroughly BELIEVABLE and ENGROSSING...a dynamic and challenging work by Carlyle Brown, being given a splendid production by the Lower Depth Theatre Ensemble. The cast is superb, with all hands commanding and theatrical, yet so utterly committed to the moments at hand that there’s not a false note in the evening" - The Los Angeles Post
  • "Pure Confidence held me in its spell from start to finish under Marya Mazor's STYLISH DIRECTION." - Stage Scene L.A.
  • "Most impressive…powerful and multi layered. Pure Confidence is a THOUGHT PROVOKING drama that charms as it takes us back to an ugly chapter in America’s past. It’s message is not just powerful – it may also move you to tears" - Hollywood Revealed
  • "Actors did a magnificent job with such uniform quality I cannot but PRAISE director Mayzor. A lot of good things this production had to say." - Night Tinted Glasses
  • “Plaudits to author Brown who SUBTLY REVEALS that, in contrast to the film world’s sadistic image of slavery, everyday indignities also have the power to crush a person’s spirit” - Not Born Yesterday/Theatre Spoken Here 
  • "The play is UNSETTLING. It challenges preconceived notions of white and black and north and south, which, of course, as the playwright makes evident, is never quite what you think. The production is clever, the stage direction is nimble, particularly considering the size of the theater. Choruses of “Camptown Races” and still projections of racing scenes provide ample backstretch atmosphere. The talented ensemble of actors is PITCH PERFECT." - Paulick Report
  • "An extraordinary tale of human triumphs and failings. Top of the pack" - Broadway World

About the Writer

CARLYLE BROWN is a celebrated playwright and recipient of playwriting fellowships from the New York Foundation of the Arts, National Endowment for the Arts, the Pew Charitable Trust, and many more. His first professional production was Little Tommy Parker Celebrated Colored Minstrel Show at Penumbra Theatre Company, which then premiered his The African Company Presents Richard III, and Buffalo Hair (National McKnight Fellowship). Additional plays include The Negro of Peter the Great, A Big Blue Nail, Dartmoor Prison, Down in Mississippi and others. Brown has received commissions from Arena Stage, the Houston Grand Opera, the Children’s Theatre Company, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Actors Theatre of Louisville, and The Goodman Theater. He is the 2006 recipient of The Black Theatre Network’s Winona Lee Fletcher Award for outstanding achievement and artistic excellence, a 2008 Guggenheim Fellow, a 2010 recipient of the Otto Rene’ Castillo Award for Political Theatre, and 2010 United States Artists Fellow.


  • Armond Edward Dorsey
  • Deborah Puette
  • Dylan John Seaton
  • Eamon Hunt
  • Tamarra Graham
  • William Salyers

Behind the scenes