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1000 Playwright Interviews The first interview I posted was on June 3, 2009.  It was Jimmy Comtois.  I decided I would start interview...

May 15, 2017

I Interview Playwrights Part 940: Stacey Rose

Stacey Rose

Hometown:  Elizabeth, NJ/Charlotte, NC - They share custody. For the most part it's an amicable arrangement.

Current Town:  Avenel, NJ (which is basically Woodbridge ... but yeah.)

Q:  What are you working on now?

A:  A gaggle of really exciting things, but I'll stick to the top 5:

1. Moving into the next phase of parenting my son Zion who is now 18. I feel like my tribe and I have raised a good one. I look forward to what he's going to be in the world.

2. Re-writes on Bones, Bonez, Bone$ the second in a series of 4 one acts plays adapted from Brothers Grimm stories filtered through the lens of my Black experience. I started them with The Amoralists 'Wright Club, which created such an amazing opportunity for me to play with adaptation as I'd never tried it before. I've found that I like it! I really like it!

3. A pilot set in the world of ancillary health care providers (basically everyone who isn't a doctor or nurse) that marries the styles and themes of The Wire, Rock, and HBO's terribly underrated Getting On (one of the few shows that, to me, tonally nailed what it's like working in healthcare). This one is particularly exciting because I've been a respiratory therapist for 19 years and it's the first time I'm writing healthcare in such a detailed way.

4. Legacy Land a play about two sisters, their decades of secrets, their lovers and a freak Thanksgiving Day Blizzard. Oh, and String Bean Casserole.

2a., 3a., 4a. - Seeing this work manifest by any means necessary.

5. Moving to Minneapolis to be a Many Voices Fellow! I'm equally excited and terrified. That's always a great space for me to be in. I'm SO looking forward to making Playwrights Center a creative home. Time, space, and support for my writing is something I've been burnin' incense, throwin' bones, prayin' and wavin' church fans for, FOREVER. I'm eternally grateful.

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

A:  In fifth grade, as I was grappling with the idea that maybe I was a little too fat, I got my very first and very last grade school love letter. The young man wrote in as much detail as a fifth grade boy could, about how attracted to me he was and how he "loved my body." Here I was actively hating my body and this lil muphucka loved it! I mean he even wrote a letter! I had no other choice but to immediately fall in love with him and begin planning our future. Just as I was settling on baby names, I returned to school to find out that he'd settled on another girl who was less chubby. I was reserved for secret flirtations and kisses that I ought never tell anyone about.

This situation reinforced my already warped internal programing that said I was not good enough. I was fat. I was ugly, and worst of all ... I'd never be pick't. The neurosis situations like this created made me a very intuitive writer. When you spend so much time trying to "small" yourself and go unnoticed you get really good at observing social cues and reading character. The flip side is as I realized how jacked a mentality this is, I made a spiritual practice of choosing myself. That way, I am always pick't. It's also a very healthy way of thinking to strive for when living a creative life.

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

A:  The Hunger Games of it all. Being an "emerging playwright" and especially an "emerging playwright of color" sometimes feels like a cut throat game of winner takes all for fellowships, residencies, and development opportunities that may or may not lead to your work actually appearing on somebody's stage. It's exhausting and it fosters buckets of anxiety, pettiness, and resentment among artists who really should be working together to ensure as much representation as humanly possible of our own voices. As a great friend often reminds me, there is room for us all.

I mean ... maybe we can reduce the discussions around who has a right to tell what stories when the folks whose stories need tellin' have a legitimate shot of tellin' them they damn selves. Creating these opportunities I feel lays, in-part, at the feet of the industry as it benefits monetarily and creatively from the work theatre artists give. It also rests with the artists. I refuse to sit around for all eternity waiting for someone to deem my work worthy of production. You shouldn't either. Young Jean Lee didn't. 13P didn't. Taylor Mac didn't. Daaimah Mubashshir didn't. Amina Henry didn't. We can argue issues of privilege and access until the cows come home (and we should), but if Black folks can survive & revolutionize in America during and post slavery, surely you can do the obligatory "apply for everything" and put up your magical realistic puppet show about the Golden Girls and ageism. Better yet, you can help someone else put up theirs.

Q:  Who are or were your theatrical heroes?

Suzan Lori-Parks &
Eduardo Machado &
Annie Baker &
Edward Albee &
Adrienne Kennedy &
Lynn Nottage &
Lorraine Hansberry
(who was far more gangsta than outside narratives would have you believe) &
Jimmy Baldwin (though The Amen Corner is WAAAY too long to me.) &
Richard Wesley &
Amiri Baraka &
James A. Tyler &
C.A. Johnson &
Donja R. Love &
Korde Tuttle &
Logan Vaughn &
Tiffany Nichole Greene &
Christopher Betts &
Pernell Walker &
Darell J. Hunt &
Basically, all of my theatrical ancestors, predecessors, and contemporaries &
New Dramatists
The Public Theater (also a great place for writing and dreaming) &
The Amoralists &
Brooklyn Generator &
Playwrights Center &
The Bushwick Starr &
any person or institution that goes out of their way to contribute time, money, resources, creativity or all of the above to theatre artists of color, who are differently abled, and of varied sexual/gender identities. It is the only way to ensure an American Theatre that is a true reflection of what this country is.

Q:  What kind of theater excites you?

A:  The kind I like to call "Dead Ass" Theatre. "Dead Ass" Theatre is straight up no chaser. It makes no apologies for what it is and refuses to put gentile sensibilities before its truth. Latest examples:
The Death of The Very Last Black Man - Suzan Lori-Parks at Signature
Dolphins and Sharks - James A. Tyler at Labyrinth
Everyday Afroplay - Daaimah Mubashshir at JACK

Q:  What advice do you have for playwrights just starting out?

A:  You belong. Welcome.
When in doubt, or feeling unworthy, or feeling jealous/unpick't, or feeling great: Have a meal. Drink some water. Call a friend. Take a nap. Cry. Scream ... and when you're done, write.

Q:  Plugs, please:

A:  My new one act Bones, Bonez, Bone$ will have a "dangerously staged" reading as part of The Amoralists Theatre Company's 'Wright Club on June 5th at 7:30 pm at  Medicine Show Theatre
549 W 52nd St, Fl 3rd, New York, New York 10019  (It'll be the last thing I have up in NYC for a while so come thru!)

To keep up with my antics visit StaceyTheRose.com and FromTheRosesMouth.com

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