Thursday, September 20, 2018

Creating The Immeasurable Want of Light Part I

There were many phases, and many challenges, in the process of transposing Everyday Afroplay into its latest iteration. Through the chaos guaranteed by a long gestation period, the harmony and discord of collaboration—with editor Rachel Kauder Nalebuff, myself, and numerous mentors and readers offering suggestions, amendments, and questions months on end—and the usual dramaturgical quandaries posed when manifesting Everyday Afroplay, Daaimah Mubashishr wrestled The Immeasurable Want of Light into existence. Prefaced with an incisive introduction by Amauta M. Firmino, the result is a funky intergalactic piece of afro-avant-garde theater, interspersed with four complimentary digital collages by the artist and historian Nell Painter.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Introducing The Immeasurable Want of Light

Everyday Afroplay has undergone another, wholly new, transformation. While every iteration of Everyday Afroplay requires reinvention—as collaborators, venues, and text selections change—this new incarnation of the play would present an alien array of opportunities and challenges due to one important perspective shift: Mubashshir was to craft Everyday Afroplay for publication rather than a specific production.

This offer from 3 Hole Press began a nearly yearlong process of writing, rewriting, late-night phone calling, meeting, deadlines, missed deadlines, new deadlines, and artistic soul-searching.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

JACK: A Performance Chronicle

By the end of technical rehearsals, book sculptures and seating cubes dotted JACK's wood floor, roughly delineating the playing space. Across these, the cast formed and reformed as the directors cycled through pieces and a handful of lighting cues—a warm daylight effect, darkness, and two bold washes, one purple one green. Reflected against the tin-foiled crinkle of JACK's walls (its most uncompromising feature), the green and purple elicited an endless formless horizon of dynamic, saturated color. The whiter lights cast against the walls returned an intense glare while a truly empty darkness remained elusive; the metallic walls amplified any ambient light into a glow strong enough to illuminate the outlines throughout the room.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

The Rehearsal Process

Due to the magnitude of this undertaking at JACK, constituting so many moving pieces on such a small budget, there were many steps necessary to even get us into the rehearsal phase. John Del Gaudio and Daaimah Mubashshir had to work out many logistical and practical concerns before we could get most of the collaborators into the room together. I was not privy to most of these conversations, or the decisions made therein, but the substance of those talks undoubtedly grappled with the usual obstacles impeding Off-Off Broadway theater producers: scheduling and funding.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Crafting The Script

The epic proportions of EverydayAfroplayits variegated forms, from the empty stage to the edge of the cosmos; its vast array of characters, from foppish beekeepers to singing cellos; the expansiveness of its central consideration, blackness and the black body right here and now—bring with it a series of inherent challenges when translating the work into performance. It is likely that you will want to pare down from the seventy odd plays that comprise Everyday Afroplay, which triggers subsequent questions about focus and perspective, intent, duration, space, logistics, and structure. The difficulty of winnowing the body of work is amplified by the method of production Daaimah Mubashshir has so far employed: to enlist a sizable cohort of collaborators. With numerous directors to identify and divvy up the material amongst themselves, selecting a set of pieces and defining a framework—if there is to be any—become longer but more vital processes.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Interview With The Playwright

The upcoming production at JACK marks the second time Everday Afroplay will have been mounted. I was hoping that in addition to sharing some of her thoughts on the creation and curation of the text itself, Daaimah Mubashshir would explain the motivations behind several production choices that have been made so far as well as her hopes and new goals for getting a second chance at exploring this territory.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Welcome to the Everyday Afroplay Production Journal

After the first meeting for this latest incarnation of Everyday Afroplay, to be presented at JACK in Brooklyn this April 2017, and a few subsequent conversations I have had with the author, Daaimah Mubashshir, it became clear that creating a digital space for the creative team to share and discuss materials and ideas would be a productive endeavor. The disparate nature of the play, with its many and varied constituent pieces--shifting constantly in length and breadth of form and substance--and the decision to involve multiple directors taking the piece simultaneously in multiple directions, who will conduct rehearsals at least to some extent separately, signaled a distinct need to carve out extra time and space for communal reflection and creation. Given that there are so many of us, the dimensions of that space and time seemed more appropriately served by the loose bounds of the digital than the demanding confines of the physical.