Tuesday, August 2, 2016

At Play - Secret City

The amazing Chris Wells, impresario of The Secret City, invited me to celebrate in the worship of art this past weekend. The theme was "play". I am humbled and awed by the spirit of the service, like an old tent revival, but about something I truly believe in, the uplifting spirit of art.

Thank you, Chris,  for inviting me into The Secret City!


This is what I read:

I like to play. (Brit) “Sometimes I play at being foreign,” (EU) “Sorry, my English is not perfect,” usually in situations where the color of my skin tells a story which is not mine, when it casts me in a role I don’t want to play. I’m not a thug or a victim. I’m not a nigger. A symphony happens lately when I walk through my neighborhood grocery store parking lot, a percussion of car door locks and syncopated beeps, the remotes sometimes aimed at me like semi-automatic weapons. Maybe they’re playing video games in their heads, I tell myself of these neighbors who’ve recently been sanctioned to so publicly hate. I don’t know how to play this game.

The notion that acting is play appealed to me early on. Onstage I’m not confined to what is, brown skin and frizzy hair, in a world that uses melanin to define personality. Onstage I’ve played a spectrum of humanity, men, women, in between, Indian, Latina, Russian.

When I’m alone with myself I have no color, no body type, no sense of being less or more than anything else. I’m me, a being who appeared on the planet the day I was born, who likes to play at being everything!

I write plays. Screenplays, stage plays, my life’s play, but mostly I like to improvise, to riff off the script I’ve been given to play. Today I’m changing my dialogue from “What the fuck?” to “Let’s play!”

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