Donnetta Lavinia Grays

Donnetta Lavinia Grays

Donnetta Lavinia Grays – raised in Columbia, South Carolina - is a Brooklyn based Playwright and actor. Plays include WHERE WE STAND (Upcoming World Premiere Co-production - WP Theater and Baltimore Centerstage. O’Neill Center National Playwrights Conference Semifinalist.), LAST NIGHT AND THE NIGHT BEFORE (World Premiere - Denver Center for the Performing Arts. Kilroys List. Colorado New Play Summit. NNPN...
Donnetta Lavinia Grays – raised in Columbia, South Carolina - is a Brooklyn based Playwright and actor. Plays include WHERE WE STAND (Upcoming World Premiere Co-production - WP Theater and Baltimore Centerstage. O’Neill Center National Playwrights Conference Semifinalist.), LAST NIGHT AND THE NIGHT BEFORE (World Premiere - Denver Center for the Performing Arts. Kilroys List. Colorado New Play Summit. NNPN Showcase. Todd McNerney National Playwriting Award, O’Neill Center National Playwrights Conference Semifinalist.), LAID TO REST (Playwrights Realm Writing Fellow Finalist. O’Neill Center National Playwrights Conference Finalist. Kilroys - List Honorable Mention. Ground Floor at Berkeley Rep. Space on Ryder Farm Creative Residency.) and THE REVIEW (WP Pipeline Festival. O’Neill Center National Playwrights Conference Finalist). Alumna of Space on Ryder Farm Working Farm Residency, Time Warner Foundation WP Playwrights Lab, Civilians R&D Group, Actors Studio Playwright/Directors Unit and terraNova Collective’s Groundbreakers Playwright group. Inaugural recipient of the Doric Wilson Independent Playwright Award. Development with New Harmony Project, Berkeley Rep, Labyrinth Theater, New York Theater Workshop, Orlando Shakespeare Theater, Portland Stage Company, Pure Theatre, Naked Angels and Classical Theater of Harlem. Commissions with Theaterworks USA, The Public Theater's Mobile Unit, Denver Center and WP Theater. Staff Writer for TV’s Manhunt: Lone Wolf www.gaptoothedgriot.com

Plays

  • Last Night and the Night Before
    When Monique and her 10-year-old daughter Samantha show up unexpectedly on her sister’s Brooklyn doorstep, it’s the beginning of the end for Rachel and her partner Nadima’s orderly lifestyle. Monique is on the run from deep trouble, her husband Reggie is nowhere to be seen, and Samantha becomes ever haunted by the life in southern Georgia she was forced to leave behind. Poetic, dark and often deeply funny Last...
    When Monique and her 10-year-old daughter Samantha show up unexpectedly on her sister’s Brooklyn doorstep, it’s the beginning of the end for Rachel and her partner Nadima’s orderly lifestyle. Monique is on the run from deep trouble, her husband Reggie is nowhere to be seen, and Samantha becomes ever haunted by the life in southern Georgia she was forced to leave behind. Poetic, dark and often deeply funny Last Night and the Night Before explores the power, necessity, and beauty of loss.



    At the root of this play is the daughter of a small town that is lost to the current sweeping epidemic of heroin abuse in this country. She is a mother who tries desperately to break a cycle of despair for her own daughter. Last Night and The Night Before is a drama infused with laughter, lightness, poetry and hope. It speaks to so many small towns across this country that have lost brilliant children due to lack of industry and economic opportunity within those communities.

    Todd McNerney National New Play Award Winner. Eugene O'Neill Center National Playwright Festival Semifinalist.
  • The Review or How to Eat Your Opposition
    In the fall of 2001 the air has a marked change in New York City. Dana – a naïve yet self-righteous art critic - and her sports loving partner Kerri struggle to reconnect through its weight. This freshly weighted air, by contrast, provides new life for Naomi – an iconic visual artist - who, after years in the business, finally experiences the throes of financial success just as a debilitating disease threatens...
    In the fall of 2001 the air has a marked change in New York City. Dana – a naïve yet self-righteous art critic - and her sports loving partner Kerri struggle to reconnect through its weight. This freshly weighted air, by contrast, provides new life for Naomi – an iconic visual artist - who, after years in the business, finally experiences the throes of financial success just as a debilitating disease threatens both that success and her legacy. When Dana questions Naomi’s artistic integrity the stage is set for a sexy, emotional and intellectual game of football between critic and artist. Secrets are revealed, beliefs are shattered, hearts are broken and art is made in this fast-paced drama that explores loss and sacrifice.
  • Laid To Rest (Working Title)
    When his fatal shooting stirs a community into fevered protest, Vanda's son Clarence becomes yet another hashtag in the ongoing fight against police brutality. Social media overwhelms and recreates Clarence's story beyond even Vanda's recognition. While struggling to find a sense of peace, Vanda meets Grace - a well-meaning yet casual armchair activist- and the need to mourn Clarence's death...
    When his fatal shooting stirs a community into fevered protest, Vanda's son Clarence becomes yet another hashtag in the ongoing fight against police brutality. Social media overwhelms and recreates Clarence's story beyond even Vanda's recognition. While struggling to find a sense of peace, Vanda meets Grace - a well-meaning yet casual armchair activist- and the need to mourn Clarence's death and reclaim his story in the concrete offline spaces of the real world becomes ever urgent.
  • The New Normal
    *Seeking Further Development

    Inspired by the life of 2009 Puget Sound Survivor of the Year Anna Warren Schumacher, The New Normal is a frank and, often times, witty play that tells the unique story of how a young woman finds humor and grace in the unexpected challenges of survival.

    Anna is a 34-year-old broke, clumsy, wine sippin’ southern hairdresser living in present day Seattle...
    *Seeking Further Development

    Inspired by the life of 2009 Puget Sound Survivor of the Year Anna Warren Schumacher, The New Normal is a frank and, often times, witty play that tells the unique story of how a young woman finds humor and grace in the unexpected challenges of survival.

    Anna is a 34-year-old broke, clumsy, wine sippin’ southern hairdresser living in present day Seattle, WA. She is a trying desperately to raise her 2 and half year old son…and her would be rock star husband Kevin. In addition to a complicated marriage Anna is searching to make sense of her recent title of “breast cancer survivor.”

    She has just returned from a weekend of fun with her survivor support group to find the house a wreck, the bills unpaid and a mysterious stranger parked just outside of her home.
  • The More Things Change
    Two sisters. One lifetime. Ten minutes.
  • On Break at L.L. Bean
    Ali, an 18-year-old Somali refugee grateful to his adoptive nation, wants to enlist in the Army. Jerome, Ali’s 65-year-old coworker who views him as close as a son, fears for this young Muslim man’s life in a nation increasingly resistant to him. Set in Freeport, Maine. About a half hour outside of Lewiston.

    A play about love of country and the love between men.

    Commissioned by Now...
    Ali, an 18-year-old Somali refugee grateful to his adoptive nation, wants to enlist in the Army. Jerome, Ali’s 65-year-old coworker who views him as close as a son, fears for this young Muslim man’s life in a nation increasingly resistant to him. Set in Freeport, Maine. About a half hour outside of Lewiston.

    A play about love of country and the love between men.

    Commissioned by Now Africa Playwrights Festival
  • Take
    Two women sit on the edge of a dark coastal town.
  • the cowboy is dying
    REVIEW

    ''the cowboy is dying is a fine model of a fully-developed story. It is a fusion of a great narrative, heartfelt drama, and original music dressed in soulful vocals. Grays captures our attention from the beginning, with bold claims of being able to start fires and thunderstorms even though her posture suggests uneasiness. However, that uneasiness folds neatly into the development...
    REVIEW

    ''the cowboy is dying is a fine model of a fully-developed story. It is a fusion of a great narrative, heartfelt drama, and original music dressed in soulful vocals. Grays captures our attention from the beginning, with bold claims of being able to start fires and thunderstorms even though her posture suggests uneasiness. However, that uneasiness folds neatly into the development of a socially uncomfortable character trying to find her niche....Grays links her dreams of being a preacher to her dreams of being an actor. When she struggles with integrating her lesbianism with her spirituality, her conflict is conveyed through her strong pipes (India Arie, watch out!) and intelligently written script. Grays is not afraid to get emotionally naked onstage either, singing "I know my body works even if you don't know. I know my body works even if you're through with it" to an unrequited love interest. The reasons for her isolation change throughout her life, but they all stem from a social root. She goes from being a outcast because of her connection to God to being confined within herself for fear of acting on her desires, and all of it is very gripping. She creates wonderful characters and anecdotes, and when she likens herself to the Marlboro man, it is not only hilarious, but also painfully tender. The cowboy may be dying, but unlike in the Westerns, we don't watch him go with sorrow. From his death springs the birth of a rising, talented artist.'' - Theater Talk's New Theater Corps
  • The B Factor
    Inspired stylistically in part by Robert O’Hara’s Insurrection and Tony Kushner’s Angels in America, The “B” Factor is a fantastical comedy that explores the lives of Duane and Anthony (both played by women) on their quest for sexual identity.

    This is an older play. Seeking further development.