i am on a train back from d.c.
i spent the week working on my play, jump, at the kennedy center.
the week was amazing.
but as i sit here, just miles from nyc, i am struck with one memory in particular.
a black actor came up to me after the reading of my play. i had gone up to introduce myself to him earlier in the day when i learned we had a mutual friend. when i turned to him i saw that he had tears in his eyes. my play is sad so i thought that may be it. but as he spoke, and i am paraphrasing, he expressed how wonderful it was to see black actors able to play roles that dealt with grief and family in a real, non-stereotypical way. we don't always get to play those roles.
we don't always get to see ourselves in this light.
all week, at lunch meetings with different groups of theater folk, i said that one of my aims was to create work that showed people of color living their lives, dealing with the same things that white characters have always gotten to unpack. i wanted to create roles for people like me. people who hurt and who harm and who laugh and who cry and who are complicated and who are people of color.
i've been saying this but it didn't hit me how important and how committed i am to that until this actor came up to me. as a playwright, i am tasked with the job of creating the world, creating the container, posing the question, crafting the situation...and what a powerful job that is. what a magical job that is.
what an important job that is.
this past week at the kennedy center was really great. one day i'll have to write about it. but for now, know i learned once again why i am doing this.
why it is important to push past my comfort zone and get my work out there.
because it matters. we matter. our stories matter.
and i am so incredibly grateful that i am able to be one of our storytellers.