Playwright Marcus Gardley Talks About New Play

Hailed by critics as the next August Wilson, Gardley has a new play starring Phylicia Rashad and a promising career ahead of him.

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TR: What's next for you?

MG: I usually work on three plays at the same time so when I get writer's block, I can move to another show. I'm working on a trilogy that's based on the migration of black Seminoles from Florida. I became real interested in this after reading all of Toni Morrison['s books] in one summer. I got fascinated by all-black towns. The first incorporated all-black town is in Oklahoma, where my dad's people are from. These are my ancestors. I started writing a play about them; it just flowed. One play turned into two; two turned into three.

TR: How did you get started writing plays?

MG: I thought I wanted to be an anesthesiologist. I guess [the poet in me] liked the sound of it. Then I thought, Oh no, I don't want to gas people. I want to make people dream. I want to inspire people, give them hope, talk about difficult things. Ask big questions. When I discovered playwriting, everything began to fall in place. It's been a very tumultuous journey. I've done everything on the fly.

Abdul Ali writes about arts and culture for The Root. Follow him on Twitter.

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