Monday, January 30, 2012
I Interview Playwrights Part 421: Reginald Edmund
Hometown: Houston, Texas
Current Town: Chicago, Illinois
Q: Tell me about 1968: The Year That Rocked the World.
A: 1968 is a series of short plays written by various playwrights associated with the History Theatre and the Playwrights' Center. These plays bring some of the events and personalities of 1968 on to the stage from seven distinct perspectives. The war in Vietnam, the assassinations of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Senator Robert Kennedy, the Mexico Olympics, Lyndon B. Johnson and Hubert H. Humphrey, the election of Richard Nixon, and even the Apollo 8 mission broadcast on Christmas Eve
My play titled 'Welcome Home' deals with a Vietnam Dog Scout named Jerry Miron who returns home from the war and has to readjust to society and married life. I pulled a huge amount of the content of this play from sitting down personally with Jerry Miron and conducting interviews for a few months.
Q: What else are you working on now?
A: I'm currently working on a 9 play series titled the City of the Bayou Collection, in which where one play ends, serves as the inciting incident for the next play to begin. and where one character serves as a minor character in one piece they spin off and become the central character in the next. Additionally, I'm working on several smaller pieces including a one man show, and a stage remake of Blacula, which I hope to put up on stage sometime this summer.
Q: If you could change one thing about theater, what would it be?
A: I think I would change the mindset of theatre leaders concerning new plays. There seems to be a lot of fear about putting new works up, and then often times the new work that they are putting up speaks only to a certain demographic of America, but it doesn't speak to my soul and it certainly doesn't speak to others.
Q: Who are or were your theatrical heroes?
A: I got a lot of amazing heroes... August Wilson, Carlyle Brown, James Austin Williams, Marion McClinton, Charles Smith, Dominic Taylor, Jeremy Cohen, and Russ Tutterow to name a few.
Q: What kind of theater excites you?
A: I'm excited by the work that has an inherent soul to it, where you can feel that this script has meaning to the playwright. Where you can feel the sincerity in the script.
Q: What advice do you have for playwrights just starting out?
A: I'd tell them to keep pushing even when everyone and everything tells them to stop. Those are just road blocks, and if you are really sincere about this business then just push through them. The business of playwriting, is an arena for fighters. More often than not talent isn't going to get you to be the best in this business but sheer will to fight hard and not be afraid to let your script and your life get a little messy and bloody.