50in50: Writing Ourselves Into ExistenceA Partnership between RestorationART, Billie Holiday Theatre and Frank Silvera Writers' Workshop
CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS | DEADLINE: FRIDAY, APRIL 21, 2017 AT 5pm ET | SUBMIT WORK HERE
We are in search of 50 Black women and girls from all walks of life to write ONE PAGE AND ONE PAGE ONLY. It can be a monologue or a dialogue between characters. Selected works will be read by an esteemed group of women actors at a special event in the soon-to-open historic Billie Holiday Theatre this spring 2017.
Playwright Curatorial StatementAs Black Women writers, we fulfill a unique and un-duplicated role in theatre. We are telling the stories that represent us with balance and complexity and illuminate our side of the human experience. It is urgent and necessary. And it is our time. More Black women playwrights are being produced today than ever before. Women are starting to be produced, though still sparsely, on Broadway more frequently. We are in a moment or a movement or both.
And yet, we are telling stories during a time where young Black and Latinx girls have gone missing in DC while their disappearances seem to warrant little media concern. Nigerian women and girls who have gone missing have disappeared from international discourse and political action has been silenced around their recovery. Muslim women are being targeted and profiled by Islamophobic government officials and xenophobes. Rape apologists are continuing to dismiss the daily violations and abuses against women while blaming women for a pervasive rape culture. Black women are mysteriously dying in custody for traffic violations and are being aggressively handled by the police as if they are men, even when they are visibly pregnant. Through all of this social dismissal of the lives of Black women and girls, we continue to write ourselves into existence.
We are in a global movement of Black Lives mattering. We are also in a movement of #sayhername. So how do we as storytellers contribute to a narrative that supports Black women’s rights to live and exist without exploitation and terror and violation of their human rights?
As we create monologues during this special moment and movement, allow your narrative to reflect the ongoing costs of being in the skin and gender you’re in. Consider all of the aforementioned issues and add this prompt: What does it mean to #sayhername and make space for a Black woman’s rage, defiance or joy?
For as Ntozake Shange says in her iconic For Colored Girls…, “bein alive & bein a woman & bein colored is a metaphysical dilemma/ i havent conquered yet”.
May this spark something urgent in your work. Happy writing!
( Dominique Morisseau - Playwright/Actress)
50in50: Writing Ourselves into Existence was made possible through the generous support of our partners: New York Community Trust, The William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust and New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.
Dominique Morisseau, Playwright and Actress, got her BFA in Acting from the University of Michigan and her start as a performance poet in the Detroit community of Harmonie Park. She has since become a noted award-winning playwright in NYC and is currently developing a 3-play cycle about her hometown, entitled “The Detroit Projects”. The inaugural play Detroit ’67, about the riots/rebellion in 1967, originated at the Public Theater and extended at Classical Theatre of Harlem with the National Black Theatre. The production was nominated for 8 Audelco Theatre Awards including Best Playwright. The second play Paradise Blue, about Detroit’s 1949 jazz community uprooted by urban renewal, was the winner of the L. Arnold Weissberger Award and received development at Williamstown Theatre Festival, McCarter Theatre, New York Theatre Workshop, and the Public Theater. The third and final play Skeleton Crew, about a makeshift family of workers at the last exporting auto plant in the city, recently received a Barebones production at the Lark Play Development Center. Ms. Morisseau, a recent PoNY (Playwright of New York) fellow, is also generating a substantial body of work independent of the Detroit cycle: Sunset Baby, Follow Me To Nellie’s, and Blood At The Root. Her work has also been published in NY Times bestseller- “Chicken Soup for the African American Soul” and in the Harlem-based literary journal “Signifyin’ Harlem”. She is a Jane Chambers Playwriting Award honoree, a two-time NAACP Image Award recipient, honoree for the Primus Prize by the American Theatre Critics Association, and winner of the Stavis Playwriting Award. U of M has also awarded her with their Emerging Leader Award, and the city of Detroit has honored her with a Spirit of Detroit award. Most substantially, Dominique has recently been awarded the esteemed Edward M. Kennedy Prize for Drama. She is an artist that believes wholeheartedly in the power and strength of community.