What inspired you to write the play? What do you want people thinking about as they leave the theater?
DREAM HOU$E came from two impulses for me: the first was thinking about my own relationship to the house my family left when our hometown started changing. The second impulse came up as I moved more deeply into the professional world of theater. As a writer of color in a landscape where (statistically speaking) the majority of theater subscribers are white, I felt like I was being asked to sell my culture for money – and a part of me really wanted to (because of course that’s how we measure success).
This play has been my space to grapple with the gaze my work was going to be subjected to, with the difference between claiming my own narrative and having one put on me, with the relationship between upward mobility and cultural disconnection. And when the play takes off into the surreal, this is what I’m exploring.
One constant with my work is that I’m not writing to give answers, but to ask questions – and I hope the audience will walk away chewing on those questions too. The play is about how the Sisters’ attachment to the house has changed, and by extension how their attachment to themselves and their cultural identity has changed. I hope they’ll come out thinking about their own families, their own hometowns, and the way their relationship to themselves has shifted.
When did you start writing plays?
I started writing plays because a set of nonprofit programs from theaters and arts organizations came to my elementary schools – shout out to YoungStorytellers, The Actor’s Gang and Center Theater Group! Those programs really brought me into the arts and made theater my creative outlet early-on, so as I grew up I consistently turned to it when I had something to express. I became an actor, then started pursuing writing more seriously in high school after getting realllllly tired of playing maids and girlfriends.
Who are your primary artistic influences?
I’m influenced by great plays I’ve read and seen – but I’m currently in the MFA Playwriting program at BU so on a day-to-day bass the most major influences on my writing have been the stellar writers in my cohort and my professors.