A Play Writer Looks At Slavery And The Present Times

Richard Gallion wrote the play “1800 vs. 2020” with the goal of presenting
a conversation between enslaved people and Black people in
this era. Photo provided by Richard Gallion.
Richard Gallion wrote the play “1800 vs. 2020” with the goal of presenting a conversation between enslaved people and Black people in this era. Photo provided by Richard Gallion.

 A phenomenal Play Looks At Slavery And The Present Times

By Tia Carol Jones

Richard Gallion started thinking about the concept for his play, “1800 vs. 2020,” seven years ago, with a question of “What If?” What If the enslaved people of the 1800s had a conversation with Black people who are living in 2020 and how would that conversation go.

Gallion would like to think those ancestors would be proud of the Black people of this era, but he acknowledges they might be disappointed, because of what he considers not growing mentally.
“Slavery went from physical to mental and the things they died for.   They would have loved to have been able to do what we simply take it for granted.  It’s like a slap in the face to our ancestors,” he said.


Gallion considers himself an advocate for real Black history and has been studying it for some time. For the play, he tightened up on his studies and made sure his dates were accurate. It took him it took him a week for the first draft  and then it took him three months to complete the production.


For the play, Gallion thought it was important to study the Transatlantic Slave Trade, life in the 1400s, and the story of Moses in the Bible book of Exodus. He also did a study on the way Black culture has shifted today.


In the play, Richard confronts where Black people come from and where they can go today. Gallion doesn’t believe any character should end how it started. He created a strong Black man character that embodies what it is like to overcome adversity. He also created a grandmother character because the grandmother is usually the one who keeps the family together.


Gallion also is bringing light to human trafficking and making a connection between it and slavery. He wants to bring awareness to human trafficking. He hopes that people will speak up against human trafficking and will not be silent about it.


The play ran six times in February 2020. COVID-19 shut the production down and Gallion had to pivot and do the productions virtually for the schools. He decided to give it another run this year because there was so much momentum, but it was cut short because of the pandemic. There is a curriculum to go along with the play.


Gallion has written productions before. He also has appeared in “Empire,” “Shameless” and “Transformers 4.” Other cast members appeared in “Chicago PD” and “Chicago Med.”


“We have a nice range of actors with nice resumes that are for the art and love the art and know how to dive into the art, that’s going to help tell a story I think is relevant and that’s a much needed conversation we should have,” he said.


Gallion hopes that people will continue to be inspired by his play. “I don’t think people will leave the theater the same way they came in,” he said.


“1800 vs. 2020” opened on Saturday, Feb. 12th, at the APC Theater at 11401 S. Vincennes. The play ends on Sunday, Feb. 27th.


On Feb. 27th, there will be a live stream of the play.  Dates for Saturday thru. Sunday, April 9th – 10th have been added.  For tickets and more information, visit Richardgallion.com or call 310-461-8973.

Latest Stories





Latest Podcast

Charise Williams 1st Congressional District Candidate