Saturday morning. 10:30 A.M. Our award-winning playwright, Iayanna Jones, is viewing a stage artist’s conceptualization of what the set might look like. She’s watching five actors perform her play, The Nightmare that Never Goes Away. She’s sitting in front of the audience and hearing feedback and many, many compliments.
She’s not doing it alone.
Arriving there, at 10:35, before their teacher, there were seven other students waiting, eating, hugging, and cheering. Our Workshop School community traveled to see her triumph and to urge her to keep writing and editing. Jamie cried, because she always cries. Jahtae introduced people and made everyone the room comfortable, because she always does that. Taliya calmly listened and made sage remarks, because she always does that. Angeline watched and missed nothing, because she always does that. Tyler had four good, new ideas, because she always does that. Niesha made us laugh and reminded us all what’s important, because she always does that. (Cesar met someone new and made a potential partnership for his next project, but I haven’t known him long enough to know if he always does that.)
We talk a lot about how our work goes out into the world. Here was a play that asks you to think deeply about trauma, about parenting, about family, and about the choices we all make, whether we’re young or old. But it was funny and touching, too. As a father sitting next to my own daughter, I felt the immense energy and wisdom that Iayanna brought to her work, and we spent the entire ride home talking it over. I think everyone in the audience had the same response.
Community and real world impact.