I’m just going to blurt it out: I’m a semi-finalist with the Garry Marshall New Play Works Festival!! When I read the email announcing the news, I burst into happy tears. Here’s why:
These past several months have been creatively fantastic, full of hard work and soul-filling. I’ve somehow gotten back to my original love, playwriting. This part of me blossomed (perhaps like my boobs) at twelve years old when I wrote my first play.
You guys know that I do a lotta things, but I have to say that writing is a personal love that gives me so much joy. I hope you have something in your life that pushes your buttons in this way. If not, go find it!!
So, if you don’t mind, I’d like to share some of my joy and hard work as of late:
Around October 2020, I was accepted to the Circle X Emerging Playwrights Group. Yeahhh buddy!! Together, with four other playwrights, we supported one another through a six-month journey of writing some really good shit. I wrote a cathartic play, Unexplained Infertility. The title tells you what it is mostly about, and it was a painful and expelling exploration into my path toward and away from motherhood. But the joy, oh, the joy in crafting the words that appeared on the page! I wasn’t sure where to go with what I wanted to say, so I went to the ancestors and they gave me answers. I now have a full-length play that can be massaged and submitted to festivals and the like. This opportunity gave me a leg up in making myself prepared. ‘Cause what happens in this profession, is oftentimes you want to submit to things, but you don’t have anything because you needed some developmental help. So, you don’t submit and then everything sucks because you feel like a failure. I’d like to add that Meghan Brown mentored me through the entire process and she is a true rock star. Look her up. Support her.
Around the same time give or take, I was accepted to the Antaeus Playwrights Lab. (Singing angelically: “aaaahhhh”!) Every week I Zoom with a group of exceptional writers and actors. We grow and share work together. It’s like … church? But our words are our religion or our altar, perhaps. I was graciously commissioned to write for Season 2 of their radio plays called The Zip Code Plays (and now happily, Season 3, tooooo!). If you know me, you know I love all-things vintage and radio plays are right up my alley. Soooo exciting! My play, End of the Line (North Hollywood 91607), was inspired by what I learned through Lower Depth Theatre Ensemble‘s 2019 “Cycle of Violence” exploration into human trafficking via Tira Palmquist‘s commissioned play, Safe Harbor.
Listen to End of the Line here: https://the-zip-code-plays.castos.com/player/451168
Or right here:
I’m now writing The Fire In-Between (Griffith Park 90027) about the 1933 Griffith Park fire in Los Angeles (which claimed many black, Mexican and white lives). It is a fascinating and devastating story.
The beauty continued and I was also accepted to the Moving Arts MADLab 2021 Cohort! Whaaaat?!?! Riches have been bestowed upon me. Riches! For this program, our task was to write an LA story. I went “home” for this one. F/K/A Meridian is about black women, mental health and that LA drive for fame. It grew from a Brown Betties piece I wrote years ago called, SKIN, that I never finished. It has morphed into a loose portrayal of how I felt in the early 2000s trying to produce Brown Betties …ie, crazy. (I don’t think we’re allowed to say ‘crazy’ anymore?) I felt mentally unstable, out of sorts, unsure, sad, angry, confused and irritated while running like a mad woman on that “LA Quest For Fame and Fortune” Hamster Wheel (all while finding some joy in creating what I was creating). In a word, I felt like a black bean burrito. When you see/read the play, you’ll catch the significance of this.
Next up, I’ve been graciously, happily, yummily commissioned to write for Lower Depth. I’m working on something fun for them regarding reparations and prisons. (Whoopeee!) These folks are my colleagues and friends — decades of relationships formed and forged. They are currently developing their future “Cycle of Violence” Commission Series on the prison system, so I’m nodding to that and throwing in a little humor, sarcasm and love, as I like t’ do. (If you’d like to know, t. tara turk-haynes is working on the current commission on honor killings with “The Muhammad Sisters Were Here.”)
As a playwright, I use my voice to scream, shout or sing about women’s issues, social justice and love. (That’s what my bio says.) I feel so incredibly blessed by these opportunities. As a black woman, who at 50 is still considered “Early” career or Mid-Career, it is not lost on me that doors are opening. Entities are listening to the brave souls who have been speaking up about inequities in this business and I’d like to think I’m wrapped up in that movement.
To that end, please support theater. Please follow the links above to any of the theater programs I’m working with and support financially or with your eyeballs or your presence. They need you just as I need you.
Truly fabulous Pep. No one works harder or deserves it more. xo
OMG, Peppur…your blog is fabulous…and I love it when fabulous things happen in the lives of my friends…so lucky to be a colleague of yours…and a friend. Love this. Love your writing. Love you. Elizabeth Wong