I wrote a very long and scathing blog post called “hot play bummer” which was a play on hot girl bummer, a song that I hate that I love. And the whole post was about how exhausting it is to be a playwright of color working with theatre companies where the staff is 90% white. It’s exhausting to over-explain. It’s exhausting to answer questions like “why isn’t the one white character likable” or “can you make the Black woman character less strong? She’s not human yet.” And what they don’t understand is being a person of color in the United States requires you to be superhuman, it requires you to be too strong. The performance of existing in mostly white spaces demands that we be constantly ready, constantly ready for fuckery, and somehow also constantly calm and never angry. So, yeah, my existence is superhuman.
But I deleted it. Because I was scared. And that makes me really, really, really sad.
Because as an emerging queer playwright of color, I can never say what’s really on my mind. I can never respond to notes the way I want or say what I’m really feeling. Because to do that would mean never being produced ever again unless I produced myself, to do that would mean being labeled as “difficult.” It would mean my ambition of winning the award trifecta, of helping redefine American theatre, of being someone who can open the door for someone else, could never and would never happen.
And that’s depressing.
But I have to accept that in order to make my dreams come true, I have to be a muted version of myself.
So then I wrote another blog. This one was called “F*ck it, I love you” and it was all about how I want to inspire writers who will come after me and how I fell in love with theatre in the first place. And I really wrote out my full heroes’ journey.
But knowing that I was writing that while having so much doubt felt artificial.
By the time this blog post is posted, I will be on a plane, heading to another playwright adventure. Literally getting live out my dreams and that’s so exciting. I’m doing this impossible thing that I love to do.
Originally, I wanted to write a pre-blog post and then have my Oct 30 post be about my travels to Sarasota and Minneapolis. Which I’m sure will be life-changing.
But I don’t know how to write about theatre right now when I’m so heartbroken by it. I got out of one bad situation and am worried I’m stumbling into a new one and that’s all I can say about it because saying any more than that ruins my career.
I’m being (unintentionally and unmaliciously) silenced. How does anyone reckon with that?
So, to fight back as best as I can right now, I decided to write a blog post where I told the truth as much as I could, as much as I was able. And to take a moment to mourn.
Today, I told a friend “I think I’m going to be done with this soon.” My friend asked, “You mean your job?” And I said “All of it.”
I don’t mean to be dramatic or pessimistic. I love theatre. I love the potential it has. I’ve dedicated my whole life to it. When I think of sacred spaces and “church”, I think of the theatre.
But today, in this moment, I don’t know. Everything feels heavy. And if my blog is about writing about playwriting honestly, then I gotta write about the doubt too.
So. Yeah. I don’t know how long the playwright will have the driver’s seat while the producer sits in the back, pissed the f*ck off. How long can I keep self-silencing, how long can I keep self-correcting and code-switching, how long can I play a rigged game…
I just don’t know.