Dramatizing the Black Experience

Vivian J.O. Barnes, Inda Craig-Galván, and Dave Harris
In Conversation With J. Holtham
Tuesday, September 20, 2022
Episode Summary

In the wake of the pandemic, the George Floyd protests, and the country’s ongoing efforts to reconcile its racist past and address ongoing racial injustice, Black playwrights have pushed the boundaries of style and form, exploring absurdism, lyricism, and other genre-bending experiments to try to capture the strange blend of joy, fear, pain, and endurance that is being Black in America in 2022. Join us for a conversation between some of the boldest, most exciting young Black playwrights working today, discussing the craft and business of theatre, the state of Black thought, and how to capture a world that seems constantly in flux.

Participant(s) Bio

J. Holtham is a screenwriter, playwright, comic book writer, and blogger. TV: Pitch (Fox), Marvel’s Cloak & Dagger (Freeform), Marvel's Jessica Jones (Netflix), Supergirl (CW), The Handmaid's Tale (Hulu). Theatre: Ensemble Studio Theatre, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Second Stage Theater, Bespoke Plays. Essays and Reporting: American Theatre, Thrillist, Slate. Comics: Star Trek: The Mirror War, Marvel Voices: Legacy (2022), Spider-Verse Unlimited. Podcasts: Marvel’s Wastelanders: Hawkeye. On the board of the 24-Hour Plays and Ojai Playwrights Conference. He is a proud product of public education. 

Vivian J.O. Barnes is a writer from Virginia. She is a Playwrights Center Venturous Fellow and a member of the Geffen Playhouse’s 21-22 Writers’ Room. Her plays have been produced at Actors Theatre of Louisville and Steppenwolf Theatre in their digital NOW series. She has developed plays with Manhattan Theatre Club, Second Stage Theater, Clubbed Thumb, Montana Repertory Theatre, and Ojai Playwrights Conference. In the TV world, she has staffed on shows at Amazon and Peacock. She lives in Los Angeles, next to a giant bougainvillea vine. She is learning how to keep her plants alive.

Inda Craig-Galván is a Los Angeles-based playwright and screenwriter. Plays include A Jumping-Off Point (Bay Area Playwrights Festival 2022), Black Super Hero Magic Mama (Kennedy Center Rosa Parks Award, Kesselring Prize, Blue Ink Prize, Jane Chambers Student Award), and Welcome to Matteson! (Blue Ink Prize, Jeffry Melnick New Play Award, NNPN Showcase 2022). Her plays have been developed at the O'Neill, Ashland New Play Festival, Ojai Playwrights Conference, JAW, OSF, Orlando Shakes, Geffen Writers Room, and a few others that won't fit here. Inda is writing two new plays on commissions with The Old Globe and Round House Theatre. TV credits: Will Trent, Demimonde, Happy Face, How to Get Away With Murder, The Rookie. MFA in Dramatic Writing, University of Southern California.

Dave Harris is a poet and playwright from West Philly. He is the Tow Playwright-in-Residence at Roundabout Theatre Company. His play Tambo & Bones will be produced at Playwrights Horizons and Center Theatre Group, and his play Exception To The Rule will be produced at Roundabout whenever theatre allows. His work has been seen at Actors Theatre of Louisville Humana Festival, Roundabout Underground, Manhattan Theater Club, Center Theatre Group, The Goodman, Victory Gardens, The Kennedy Center, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Space on Ryder Farm, The Ground Floor at Berkeley Rep, and Ojai Playwrights Conference amongst others. Honors include: the 2019 Ollie Award, The Lorraine Hansberry Award, and Mark Twain Award from The Kennedy Center, The International Commendation for The Bruntwood Prize, the 2018 Venturous Fellowship from The Lark, and a Cave Canem poetry fellowship, amongst others. His adapted film Summertime had its premiere at Sundance in 2020 and will be distributed in 2021. His first full-length collection of poetry, Patricide, was published in May 2019 from Button Poetry. Dave received his B.A. from Yale University and his MFA from UC San Diego.