Thursday, June 05, 2014

I Interview Playwrights Part 664: Sukari Jones

Sukari Jones

Hometown: Oxon Hill, MD

Current Town: Brooklyn, NY

Q:  Tell me about Location, Location, Location!!!!.

A:  “LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION!!!!” is a story about a 9yr old physics prodigy, Asali, who doesn’t want her mom, Gladys, to die. To save her mother, Asali builds a time machine, but she breaks it, and in the end learns that schematics and equations don’t always add up to the solution to a problem. Because time breaks everything. This is the hardest thing I’ve ever written. It’s my first straight play. And it hits way too close to home. I don’t know if it’s any good, but I know it was good for me to get it out of my bloodstream. I’m very scared that people are going to actually see it. Very terrified. And very relieved.

Q:  What else are you working on now?

A:  Only musicals, and both with composer Ben Krauss: #1 is a trio of 20min pieces about people in motion, traveling from uncertainty and, unbeknownst to themselves, into danger; #2 is a Motown-sound adaptation of Othello where the protagonist is the leader of a dysfunctional 4-man band, trying to “crossover” as a successful Black soul artist in the 1960s.

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

A:  I will cut and paste a lyric I wrote with Eric Day that accurately describes my life. The song is called “It’s All About Me”

I am seven

And today, Mom is taking me to Oxon Hill farm

Today is the day I almost die

But don't worry

I don't die

I am smiling

Cause today, mom will buy me lemonade in a red cup

Today is the day I will dance with a llama

Don't be jealous

Llama llama llama

It's all about me

La la la la la la

It's all about me--yeah yeah

We're gonna feed the ducks today

Ducks are my favorite

It's all about ducks

And it's all about me

I am holding

Out my hand

Full of twelve day old bread

But this duck is trying to eat me instead

Maybe I'm too delicious

Maybe the bread's too stale

Stop it duck! Don't eat me! This girl is not for sale!



I'm dying and ripping my dress!-No!


Save me!


I think of my tombstone--Of all the luck

Here lies Sukari: Eaten by a duck

Mom is laughing cause she doesn't care

That I could have died today

I hate my Mom. I hate all Mamas

I even hate the llamas

Yes I am cool. Yes I am free

But mom didn't help

My life's up to me

It's all about me— La la la la la la

It's all about me—yeah yeah

From now on I know

From now on I see

Wow…It's all about me

La la la la la!

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

A:  That I wasn’t the sole person of color in the audience and/or cast 99% of the time I go out to see a show.

Q:  Who are or were your theatrical heroes?

A:  Henry Krieger, Bill Finn, Michael John LaChiusa, Jeanine Tesori, Jerome Kern, August Wilson, Lynn Nottage.

Q:  What kind of theater excites you?

A:  Theater that uses the stage as a lab to do an experiment. To investigate something. To test out something wacky. Theater that makes everybody uncomfortable, and then you ask yourself why? And you learn something about yourself you didn’t know. Theater dabbling in sci-fi, that tackles race, class, gender at all. Everything Exit Pursued By a Bear does. Theater where I can afford a ticket to the show.
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