Artistic Statement

Artistic Statement

Recently, I was asked what kind of theater excites me. In response, I wrote the following:

“Theater that is magic. That provokes and pushes boundaries. That poses difficult questions. That reflects the human condition. That shows us how awful and beautiful we can be to one another ...and that we have a choice in how we behave. That uses powerful and provocative language. That introduces us to interesting and compelling characters. That is intimate, funny, honest, scary, ugly, messy, poetic, and beautiful. Theater, that while ephemeral, remains with you forever.”

This is the kind of theater that I strive to create. My writing style lends itself towards magic realism and I’m quite drawn to love stories. For me, love—our ability and deep capacity to love—is the driving force of life. Love is everything. It is at the heart of fear and the foundation of hope. I’m inspired to write about history, paintings, music, heartbreak, hope, memory, negligence, and injustice, as it relates socially, politically, and historically to who I am as an African American woman.

At the same, my personal life experience doesn’t limit the content and scope of my work. I’ve written about self-hatred within the Black community (Blood-bound and Tongue-tied); early 19th century interstate slavery (Bend and Sway, Don’t Break); the Lebanese war of 2006 and the controversial CIA interrogation tactics (The Devil’s Sweet Water); the Booth family and their British American theatrical roots (Mad Breed); the impact of gentrification on inner city youth (Love Brothers Serenade); the war on women and the evolution of a friendship between two women (Noms de Guerre); and the complex relationship between Blacks and Jews (The Hampton Years).

When questioning the world around me and feeling quite lost to the violence, poverty, and lack of human dignity faced by so many, I write. With a play, I am able to lay out all sides of the story, hear all of the voices, and portray a myriad of responses to the varied situations people face in life. In doing so, I am able to make sense of the world in order to find it livable again. This is why I'm so grateful to the theater and feel quite blessed to be a playwright.