I’m a social artist, who uses the art of playwriting to evoke conversation and understanding of black people and their plights in society. I give voice to characters whose voices are often silenced in the real world. Those voices are endowed with ethereal language, heartbreaking melodies, and the sheer brazen truth. The character are unapologetic in their search for understanding, self love, and empowerment.
Combining elements of historical drama, magical realism, and Southern gothic, my plays tend to pivot between two worlds; one steeped in realism, the other in a nightmare or dream. My plays are an allegory, in reference to African-Americans’ desire to learn more about their history, but also a fantasy in which justice and redemption come from a clearer path than they do in real life. When dealing with the black body, I believe that theater and art are far more tangible ways to administer fairness than what American politics or law have historically shown.
My writing is hardly conventional in its narrative structure and is loaded with fantastical elements, such as portraying a purgatory-esque world, or as I call it, “The holding space.” It’s a metaphor saying, that both physically or mentally, the whole country is stuck. The characters in my plays are often in some “holding space”, unable to move forward, because there has been no accounting for the crimes done to the black body in the real world; thus no reconciliation. I like to explore, what does that “holding space” look like in my plays. I ask myself, how is the idea of being “stuck” manifested in my stories? I also like to explore the rules of the holding space through an exploration of the stage directions, inarticulate sounds, music, and how the space in itself is another fully lived character; a character that moves, breathes, changes, and effects the bodied characters as well. The idea of the setting being alive is reminiscent of effective tools employed by the great playwrights I admire such a Eugene O'Neill or Tennessee Williams. I want my worlds to "moan" and I want the audience to see the physicality of that moaning come alive on stage.
The souls of black America are in jagged shards in my plays, just as they are in real life. I want to try to piece those souls together.
Shackled, bound, and trapped within someplace between reality and make believe, lies swollen bellied and bloodied Mary Turner, the accused murderer Sidney Johnson, and the loving husband Hayes Turner. They are haunted by voices a mob in the abyss in which these characters are trapped. Sidney has reluctantly been given the task to force Mary to remember her past in order to move on. In this world entangled in history and unforgivable acts against humanity, to forget is to forever perish, just like the countless stories before them; trapped within old newspapers and forgotten memories.
"This is a coming of age story, sprinkled with magic, music, adventure, and an attempt to find solace in a new place, far beyond the bounds of a world that destroys little black boys "black magic." Sulaa must show him the way, and Charlie must choose to find his magic once again. This "Peter Panish" story explores the possibility of finding far away lands where little black boys can spread their magic as far out as they please and escape the limitations of our world."
The Pratt Coal mines be the place where dark curses loom, and black men are consumed.
Produced by the CongoSquare Theatre and Directed by Tony Nominated Harry Lennix
A snippet of "A Small Oak Tree Runs Red" Tech Rehearsal at Congo Square Theatre