What do you identify as?
I’m an African-American female writer.
What are you working on?
What am I not working on? Having just finished grad school, I have a bunch of plays, screenplays and two tv pilots to rewrite now that I’m not constantly commuting to campus. My goal right now is to have as much material ready enough to send out as theatre submissions or for my manager to use as writing samples in the tv world.
Tell us about “Like a Fish Out of Water”.
The play that I’m most focused on is “Like a Fish Out of Water.” Clara struggles with her own mental health when her dead goldfish comes to life as a naked Black man. She faces this dilemma of accepting him for what he says he is which would take her on an amazing journey but will ultimately mean she’s decided to live in her mind and let go of her need for “a right mind.”
Why do you write?
I want to see Black women’s stories. Particularly the varied range of women that I’ve either been or been witness to. We aren’t just the ingenue or the heavyset comic relief or the mama/grandmama. We are computer nerds and comic book nerds and writers and poets and bank tellers and bank managers. We have mental health issues. We get lonely. We get confused. We make poor choices – the worst choices. Choices that set us free. Choices that protect us and hurt other people. We travel, we have adventures. We do the fun, interesting, awkward, random shit that White people do, plus our Black girl magic secrets that they don’t know about. We aren’t usually the ones having those wacky, interesting adventures on stages or on TV. And if we are, we are often the sidekick to the more wacky, more interesting White character. We’re fantastic, even when there’s no one White for us to be seen in relation to or in support of, and I want to see and write more of that.
What advice do you have for Black, Latinx and Afrolatinx theatre artists?
Create the work that expresses your cultural aesthetic, rather than work that fits someone else’s idea of what that should look like.
How can people find your work?
Some of my plays that can be read on the New Play Exchange. And there’s info on my website of readings coming up.
What has been a challenge in this career?
I’m still new to this, and scheduling time in order to balance grad school and work and home were the biggest challenges until a few weeks ago. Now, the post-graduation challenge is to keep myself busy and self-imposing deadlines so I can keep up the momentum.
I have a radionovela that you can subscribe to on iTunes, called “Celestial Blood.” I wrote several of the episodes.
My play “Black Super Hero Magic Mama” has a reading June 17th at Kitchen Dog Theater in Dallas, TX.
Then I’ll be in Connecticut for the Eugene O’Neill National Playwrights Conference further developing that play. The readings for that are June 26th & 27th.
What is your advice for those interested in pursuing an MFA?
Do your research to find a program that fits your needs and interests. Talk to professors, current students, graduates. Once you make your decision, dig into the work. You’re going to get out of any program what you put into it.