Can you describe a theater moment that particularly inspired you?
Truthfully, I never really recovered from watching the dream ballet in Billy Elliot on Broadway. I cried all the way through the rest of the play.
What do you hope audiences come away with from experiencing one of your plays?
I hope audiences come away with an understanding that with all of the complexity and ambiguity our art explores, we’re always called to make the choice between right and wrong.
Who are some current playwrights we should know about?
Okay check it out: Aleshea Harris, France Luce-Benson, Caridad Svich, Kallan Dana, Sheila Callaghan, Gina Femia, Josiah Turner, Caitlyn Saylor Stevens, and Mathilde Dratwa.
What do you look for in a collaborator/ director?
I particularly love collaborators who are unafraid to give me suggestions. I like to leave each development period feeling like the play carries a little bit of every person who worked on it.
What draws you to writing for the theater?
I like writing for the theatre because I love hearing people say impossible things out loud.
What are some of your artistic goals? Long or short term?
I want to have a play about my hometown staged in my hometown!
Favorite movies? t.v. shows? books? video games?
Favorite movies are Assassination Nation, The Killing of a Sacred Deer, The Last Black Man in San Francisco, and The Clouds of Sils Maria (for lesbian reasons.) Fave tv show is and always will be Ugly Betty. I’m not so sure it’s my favorite, but I’ve been really obsessed with What Belongs To Us by Garth Greenwell/On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous. Favorite video game is Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time/Bayonetta.
Who are your primary artistic influences at this moment?
I’m really inspired by Ocean Vuong at the moment. St. Vincent also remains my favorite musician and a great influence in my work.
What inspired you to write the play for NYPR?
I had the idea for this play when I visited the modern art museum in Des Moines, Iowa before I moved to the city. In their basement I found a large display made of layered materials like dirt, cloth, metal, and cement meant to evoke the shape and atmosphere of concentration camps. I wound up standing between this piece and a large frame of fluorescent lights that cast a square of primary colors over the metal protrusions. I sat down immediately and wrote the little bit of poetry that would serve as the jumping off point for My Mother the Sun.
Did you listen to specific music while writing the play? If so, what was it?
I did! There was an array of wonderful music that I listened to while writing this, but the song I came back to again and again was To Zion! by Lauren Hill.
What first drew you to the theater?
I was first drawn to theatre when I turned ten and was too old to play pretend recreationally anymore. So I started theatre so I could keep playing pretend.
What was the first play you ever wrote? What inspired you to write it?
The first play I wrote is still untitled to this day, but it was at one point called Painted Angels. It was about a master painter who has an affair with a young apprentice who can speak to the dead and I think I wrote it because I forgot to pray on the Dia de los Muertos,