My name is Tiffany Gilly and I am a fierce supporter and ally to Black lives and the Black Lives Matter movement. I am currently an acting student in the MFA program at Louisiana State University and this year I took a class with Dr. Femi Euba called "Drama of the African Diaspora" where we read a long list of plays by Black playwrights. I want to share those plays with everyone I know.
This is my attempt to make a difference in my art community to support the Black Lives Matter Movement. I have said it in the past and have heard it repeated often that many artists "don't know a lot of plays by Black playwrights." This may be for lack of any of us attempting to research beyond just a google search, it may be because of limited resources and education; a big problem is because most of what we read in theatre classes, acting classes, and other performance classes have been white-washed and are white-centric.
To equip myself, my colleagues and anyone who will listen, I'm starting a reading group where once a week, we will read a play by a Black playwright because Black voices are being silenced and need to be heard. Black playwrights have been writing for a long time and attention has been given to very few of them.
Have you heard of A Raisin In The Sun by Lorraine Hansberry or Fences by August Wilson? These are two very popular plays by Black playwrights. But why? Scholars write about these plays being easier to watch, more palatable for white people than other plays such as Dutchman by Leroi Jones (later Amiri Baraka) or Dream on Monkey Mountain by Derek Walcott. I want to dive into these thoughts and share research and resources with anyone who wants to participate. I want to grow and share in that growth.
So here's the plan:
Here are the first 12 weeks of plays. Order them online now.
These are just a start. I want to continue to choose plays by new playwrights each week. But let's do this one chunk at a time. Twelve weeks is a good start.
I don't know how many people will be interested or how successful this will be, but what matters to me is trying to use my resources to help the Black Lives Matter Movement as an actor. I hope it makes a positive impact in some people's lives and spreads awareness of Black Playwrights and their beautiful artistic endeavors in theatre.
See you next week!
Tiffany Gilly (she/her) is doing what she can to be an advocate and ally to Black Artists and People of Color through her art. She is an actor who seeks to support theatre and stories by BIPOC Playwrights. She started this play-reading group in the summer of 2020 in response to the killing of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and the Black Lives Matter Movement to increase the knowledge of plays by non-White Playwrights as a starting point or a stepping stone for other artists.