So thankful for the New Leaf opportunity. I was able to produce three full drafts of Drapetomania, a play I’ve been shelving for a couple of years. During the process, we had in-depth discussions about privilege in America, who receives it, who’s punished, and how we fight for it. It was amazing to sit around a table—virtually since I was in Kansas—with a predominately black, female cast and director.
We had further discussions about what it is to navigate in the world as a black woman and issues around colorism, stereotypes, and racial fetishism. I also had the amazing opportunity to work with an African drummer to help find the voice of the ancestor chorus through the play. Even in a reading, music and movement is vital to the storytelling of this play.
I walked away from this workshop process feeling great about the director I’m going with this play and now feel more confident to continue developing it for future opportunities.
I could not have asked for a better group of people. We made it to the top 12, and I’ve never been so proud. The emotional weight of All of the Everything resonated throughout the room. These phenomenally talented theatre artists worked so hard to make my words come to life, and there are not enough words to express my gratitude towards them. They believed in a play that I’ve been told is not possible or could not work on stage, and made it come to life.
So excited to be working on a play that I’ve finished, but never heard aloud before. It’s a play that’s gotten me some personalized rejection letters, but I’m so glad to take some time to deepen my exploration of the post-apocalyptic world in my play Drapetomania.
What is New Leaf?
New Leaf is a local new play development program that focuses on uplifting the work of Minnesota-based emerging playwrights. This Fall, New Leaf will launch in collaboration with the Playwright Cabal and Arts Nest to present staged readings of five new plays between September and December 2019. Each event concludes with a facilitated feedback session between the audience and artistic team. By the end of the collaboration with us, we aim to elevate the playwright to the next level of their development process. All events are free and open to the public.
It’s vital for artists to have a space to make their art. Market Garden Theatre gave me space to be an artist. I had the opportunity to bring in gibberish pages full of word vomit. After the first read through, I felt great! Everyone in the room embraced the text I had little confidence in sharing. They were ready and eager to jump in and experiment and explore with me. We rearranged the script several times, telling it backward and inside out.
I’m also super thankful for the two voices we never got to see on stage. Sitting in a basement making weird creepy gremlin sounds was kinda the highlight of the entire experience. I also got to work with my friend’s son, who composed and created a jarring soundscape for me. Through this development process, I discovered that this play is a massive sound piece, and the production team–giving me maybe too much room to play–incorporated a lot of it in the reading.
Can’t wait to continue exploring this piece and making new revelations about it.
I don’t have the words to thank everyone at Renaissance Theaterworks!
The way they brought my script to life was so beautiful and done with such care. With my plays, I’m always thinking of how to stage the impossible, but with this challenge, many believe this must come with an impossible budget. However, this incredible theater proved that you do not need a huge budget to tell this story so elegantly. All you need are a few simple props, talented actors, and great directing.
They are amazing and whether you have a short piece or a full length you should submit to this theater.