Chicago, Il by way of Houston, Texas
What motivates you?
So it’s my goal to tell the stories of my community. That’s really the basics of it. Tell the stories that need to be told and stir hearts and minds. My hope is that the stories I tell help ignite people’s souls.
Company name: Resident Playwright of Chicago Dramatists, Artistic Director of New Voices Theatre
What is the biggest reward for doing what you do?
Reginal: When someone approaches me and tells me thank you for telling a story that helped heal some emotional wound that was buried deep inside. That’s the moment that I really feel complete. Is when I know that the play I just spent days, weeks, months, sometimes years on had helped somebody in some way shape or form.
I think too often people jump into this with their eyes clouded by the hunt of financial success. Get your play on broadway, get your play in American Theatre Magazine, or a sweeping cross country national regional blah blah blah world production in some 300 seat mega theatre like the Guthrie, Goodman, the Public, or the Taper. And that’s great to want those things, I’m relatively young to this business and believe me, even I want those things, but I think people have to realize that the greatest reward a writer can get out of this is knowing that at the end of the day that someone saw and heard those words written come to life and that if filled someones soul with light for just a little while in a world that is so dark and cruel to live in currently.
Have you ever put on a production where when its over you felt amazed? Why?
Reginald: I feel that way every time a production ends. For me seeing those words come to life and watching how the audience responds to it is perhaps one of the greatest highs I’ve ever experienced.
What is the tough part of doing what you do?
Reginald: I think the toughest part about this business, is that as a writer its such a lonely path, it doesn’t pay great, and a huge amount of it is all about waiting for something to happen, and it can be frustrating at time.
If you were on stage & was asked to play Shakespeare to Mrs. Obama would you be serious or act like Rupaul acting out Shakespeare & why?
Reginald: I won’t do either, cause I’m difficult like that. I’d write an adaption of a Shakespearean play but have it deal with the black experience.
What would you say to a person wanting to do what you do?
Reginald: I would say that if this is something you truly want to do deep down in your core then go for it. But I would warn that it hard going into the deep into the depth of one soul and writing something meaningful. I would also say that if you want to write then you should remember this one key thing. That every play that you write should be both a love note and a suicide note to the world, like its the last play you’ll ever write.
If you really wanted to convince someone to join your company what would you say to help them decide to come to you?
Reginald: I’d tell them that New Voices Theatre is a company dedicated to giving emerging playwrights of color opportunities to have their plays work-shopped, produced, and developed by any means necessary.
Why do you think its important for the arts to stay relevant for future generations?
Reginald: I just think that people should seriously start looking at art as a way that you can peek into the soul of American life. I think people have forgotten that fact. So often we write the pedestrian play, when there is a bigger world to capture. And audiences have gotten bored with the pedestrian. Time writers start digging deep into the core of humanity again, time for producers to get the balls to produce those plays, and its time for audiences to quit being lazy and applauding the mediocre and start saying give me a little heat to ignite my soul, and maybe those young audiences will start feeling like yeah maybe this theatre thing is relevant to my life after all and it’s not actually just a bunch of high dollar b.s. Too often audiences walk out the doors of theatres and they haven’t felt anything rock their world. Think its time we change that. Writers aren’t writing for change or for revolution in thought anymore, and the ones that are don’t get produced that often or at all.
Do you think the art of acting has been lost to media fame & the craft has been pushed aside for looks instead of talent? Why?
Reginald: Definitely, definitely, definitely!!! I just think that’s America, actually in general and that’s a sad truth. It’s that our values in this country has been thrown the hell off balance, and I’m not certain if that will ever get made right and that’s tragic. Until we collectively say we want to see stories about America from all perspectives then it will never happen, cause in the minds of the people in power within theatre and films, often its not about the art, its not about the soul of the community, all they care about is what’s going to sell tickets, what’s going to aid in the continued success. And placing some plastic celeb or a pretty person will do that. Will sell that ticket in the United States of America. Everywhere else I think they value talent above all else. I don’t know just a thought