Tuesday, June 03, 2014

I Interview Playwrights Part 663: Mfoniso Udofia



Mfoniso Udofia

Hometown: Southbridge, MA

Current Town: Newark, NJ

Q:  Tell me about your play you're having read at Terranova on the 23rd.

A:  runboyrun, is the 3rd play in the Ufot Family Cycle. This play follows an older married couple who, for the past 30 years, have been living the same day over and over again. After a sudden burst of frustration, time finally starts moving ...but in both directions. The couple has to navigate through illness and memory in order to discover if they can learn to love each other.

I wrote this play because I wondered at the nature of unconditional love and the circumstances/fears that prohibit us from expressing it. To me this play is a bit of a haunt. With a lot of a terror. It's a vat of loneliness. With the tiniest pinprick of hope.

Q:  What else are you working on now?

A:  I'm travelling to Space on Ryder Farm as part of their Writers Group, and will be working on the 1st installation of the Ufot Family Cycle, The Grove. This play was the first play I'd ever written and follows a young first-generation woman who is torn between her traditional family and her own burgeoning identity. I am also working on the 4th installation of the Ufot Family Cycle which is currently untitled. This play was commissioned by the National Black Theatre as part of their "I Am Soul Residency."

Q:  Tell me, if you will, a story from your childhood that explains who you are as a writer or as a person.

A:  My mother and my father are instrumental to who I am as a writer. He is a brilliant literary-research-academic savant who uses language to carve himself into new spaces. She is a scientific genius whose love and patience know no bounds. I have too many specific stories about why they are the reason I write in the fashion I write. It feels wrong to pick one over the other...so the explanation of how/why I write is simply: my mommy and my daddy. They armed me with the stories, the skill, the dedication and the sheer tenacity.

Q:  If you could change one thing about theater, what would it be?

A:  More plays from more voices. More international theater.

Q:  What kind of theater excites you?

A:  I like a dense, epic play. I don't mind sitting for 3 hours in the theater if that 3 hours takes me on the journey of a life time. Also, I love an honest and unapologetic voice. I'm more enamored by a possessed play that harbors slight structural imbalance than I am with a well-made play with no heat.



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