The Fire This Time Festival, focusing on the experience of African American artists and audiences, takes place this year from January 15-28. The festival provides a platform for emerging African American writers to have their works produced and shown to the world. We want you to meet some of the playwrights in the week leading to the festival. Here's Shelley Fort, whose play Poppy will be performed as part of Fire This Time's 10-minute play series.
Describe your play, it's _____ meets ______.
It's Alice in Wonderland meets Twilight Zone.
How did you first realize you wanted to become a playwright?
My mom was a choreographer and dance therapist. My dad is a poet and professor of the Harlem Renaissance. I grew up building Halloween costumes out of scratch with mom and dancing around the kitchen while she cooked. I spent hours in cafes and lecture halls listening to dad at poetry readings. Storytelling has always been a part of my life.
There's no singular moment I knew I wanted to be a playwright, but I was definitely encouraged to continue writing after producing my solo show, Black Wings Bloom (On an Ivory Sky), during grad school at Brown/Trinity Rep.
Mention one play you think is flawless.
Who is your favorite character in a play?
I just discovered Anaia, Is God Is by Aleshea Harris. Dream role for sure.
What does your perfect place for writing look like?
My bed with coffee.
What's one line of dialogue you're really proud of having written?
“You so cute but you got a stinky butt. But I love you anyway. You da best I LOVE YOU.”
What actor (male or female) would you love to have do one of your plays?
I'd love to be in one of my plays. Would also love to direct one of ‘em.
What is the meaning of being part of The Fire This Time Festival for you?
It's wild that I have the opportunity to see my (first!) play produced in such good company. I'm so grateful to be a part of this ongoing community.
What is your biggest wish for the theatre community in 2018?
Buy tickets and invest in (not only plays), institutions that focus on work that is primarily by and for women and QTPOC, i.e. The Movement Theater Co., New Black Fest, Now Africa: Playwrights Fest, Primer for a Failed Superpower, Codify Art. Let’s show up for one another!
For more information on The Fire This Time Festival click here.