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Peculiar Patriot (Photo: Allan Weeks)^3472 Peculiar Patriot (Photo: Allan Weeks)^3472 Peculiar Patriot (Photo: Allan Weeks)^3472 Liza Jessie Peterson (photo: Ani Berberian)^3472

Liza Jessie Peterson

"Honest inner voice of the peeps, ringing with truth, pain, rage and outrage...and humor, delicious humor. All art is on some level artifice, yet art sometimes speaks the truest truths.”

Mumia Abu Jamal (Prisoner & Activist, on The Peculiar Patriot)



The Peculiar Patriot is a solo stage play by poet-performer-playwright (and Def Poetry alum) Liza Jessie Peterson. It follows Betsy LaQuanda Ross, a self-proclaimed peculiar patriot, who makes regular visits to penitentiaries boosting the morale of her incarcerated friends and family. As Betsy navigates love between barbed wire, she passionately sews a memory quilt for the urban “street soldiers and P.O.W.’s” (prisoners of the war on drugs) who are serving time. But when sudden tragedy strikes, old wounds are uncorked and she’s forced to confront a hidden truth. 


Betsy is both victim and victor of this country’s prison system and represents the millions of men and women who sojourn to penitentiaries on a regular basis (weekly, monthly, year after year) subjecting themselves to long bus rides and humiliating security checks to visit loved ones incarcerated. As this witty love story unfolds, The Peculiar Patriot gives voice to the voiceless and shines a glaring light on America’s fastest growing epidemic/industry while enchanting audiences with provocative thought, hilarious dialogue and gripping pathos. 


Since 2003, Ms. Peterson has shared and expanded upon Betsy’s tale in more than 34 prisons and correctional facilities in seven states, and has evolved a single character’s story into a powerful metaphor for a human story that impacts more than 2.5 million people behind bars, their loved ones and their communities. While The Peculiar Patriot has been performed informally, MAPP International Productions is working with Peterson to bring this timely project to the stage in a fully produced multimedia show that can be accessible to broader audiences nation-wide.


The anticipated premiere of The Peculiar Patriot is 2016.

MAPP International seeks commissioning support and presenting partners. Open Tour dates for 2016-2017 season available.