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I realized that my circumstances, while causing me despair and heartbreak, also held great possibility, if only I could see it. I knew that I was learning one of the most important lessons of my life: that instead of waiting for the perfect opportunity, I should work toward a realization that every opportunity is perfect. Each moment is perfect and heaven-sent, in that each moment holds the seeds for growth. Difficulty creates the opportunity for self-reflection and compassion.

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People ask me when I decided to become a playwright, and I tell them I decide to do it every day. Most days it’s very hard because I’m frightened – not frightened of writing a bad play, although that happens often with me. I’m frightened of encountering the wilderness of my own spirit, which is always , no matter how many plays I write, a new and uncharted place. Every day when I sit down to write, I can’t remember how it’s done.

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I love beautiful black-and-white movies – anything Bette Davis, especially Now, Voyager, Casablanca, Mildred Pierce; anything by Orson Welles, Truffaut, or Godard; and Paper Moon by Peter Bogdanovich.

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Some people think I am an issue-oriented writer, but I’ve never said to myself, I’m gong to write about such-and-such an issue – that would make for incredibly boring writing, at least to my taste. Creating someone I don’t know and her made-up world shows us more about who we are – is actually a better mirror – than if I were to parade in front of you an instantly recognizable person in an instantly recognizable situation. I’m not saying, Let’s make it all abstract and weird and difficult and thereby you will know more about yourself. My process is much more organic than that.

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The writing of Topdog was a great gift. I feel the play came to me because I realized that my circumstances, while causing me despair and heartbreak, also held great possibility, if only I could see it.

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Be bold. Envision yourself living a life that you love. Believe, even if you can only muster your faith for just this moment, believe that the sort of life you wish to live is, at this very moment, just waiting for you to summon it up. And when you wish for it, you begin moving toward it, and it, in turn, begins moving toward you.

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The writer has two kinds of faith: actual writing and sitting openly. Have faith in your personal effort or sweat. And faith in God, or whatever you want to call it. Then the voices will come. Faith is the big deal.

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My plays are for the kind of black people who relate to funk music, to Parliament-Funkadelic. When those guys get out of a spaceship – the idea that black people are from outer space, theres a poetic truth to that. We are this vast people.

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I knew that I was learning one of the most important lessons of my life: that instead of waiting for the perfect opportunity, I should work toward a realization that every opportunity is perfect.

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The first time I went over to [my director’s] house, he said to me, This is a very strange play. I was pleased that he reminded me of that. [He] understands the play [VENUS] intellectually and emotionally and the humor, the funny bone.