Playwright Marcus Gardley to Present Lecture at Boston College
The Boston College Theatre Department will host award-winning playwright Marcus Gardley, who will present a lecture as part of the University's Matthew R. DeVoy and John H. DeVoy IV Perspectives on Theatre Series. The free, public event-on Thursday, October 11 at 7 p.m.-will be held in the Robsham Theater Art Center, located on BC's Chestnut Hill Campus.
Gardley will explore themes including, what is a black play? what makes a play black? and what is the black aesthetic?
Described by the New Yorker as "the heir to Federico Garcia Lorca, Luigi Pirandello, and Tennessee Williams," Gardley's plays have been produced at some of the country's most renowned theaters, such as Arena Stage, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Lincoln Center Theater, and Yale Repertory Theatre.
His recent work, Black Odyssey-which blends Greek mythology and African-American folklore to form a new vision of Homer's eighth-century classic-received nine Excellence in Theatre Award nominations from the San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle, and won seven Theatre Bay Area awards for its August 2017 West Coast premiere at California Shakespeare Theater. Black Odyssey will have its Boston premiere in April 2019, co-produced by Central Square Theater and The Front Porch Arts Collective "-a black-led theatre company committed to advancing racial equity in Boston through theater," whose executive director is actor Maurice Emmanuel Parent, Boston College's 2017-18 Rev. J. Donald Monan, S.J. Professor in Theatre Arts.
"Marcus Gardley's work is both relatable and sublime," says Parent. "He blends magical realism with the particulars of the Black experience in a way that is impactful to members of our community and speaks to the essential humanity of all people."
Gardley was named one of "50 to watch" in 2009 by The Dramatist magazine. He is the recipient of the PEN/Laura Pels award for a Mid-Career Playwright (2011), which honors a "playwright whose literary achievements are vividly apparent in the rich and striking language of his or her work." He is a former United States Artists James Baldwin Fellow (2012) for Theater and Performance, which recognized him as one of "America's most accomplished and innovative artists."
Gardley's work, which often centers on African American history and allegory, challenges audiences by tackling complex social and political issues and he views it as a form of activism. He said in a 2015 interview with the National Endowment for the Arts: "What I intend for [the plays] to do, is cause conversation. From that conversation, [I hope] people are not only inspired to see more theater, but also inspired to do things in their community, so that the work is actually causing a spark for change."
Winner of the 2010 Edgerton Foundation New Play Award, a nominee for the Steinberg New Play Award, and a nominee for the Charles MacArthur Award for Best Play, Gardley's Every Tongue Confess depicts intergenerational tales of loss and redemption in the town of Boligee, Alabama. In 2014, his The Gospel of Lovingkindness won the Black Theater Alliance Award for best play/playwright. Inspired by true events, ...Lovingkindness is a drama about faith, family, and loss at the hands of gun violence.
In The Road Weeps, The Well Runs Dry, the myth, folklore, and history of the Black Seminole people emerges in the first all-black U.S. town in Wewoka, Oklahoma. Following its premier at South Coast Repertory Theatre, The Road Weeps... had a national tour and was a finalist for the 2014 Edward M. Kennedy Prize for Drama Inspired by American History, which honors "a new play or musical each year that enlists theater's power to explore the past of the United States, and to participate meaningfully in the great issues of our day through public conversation."
Gardley's play, The House That Will Not Stand, which opened off-Broadway at the New York Theatre Workshop in July, earned him the 2014 Will Glickman Playwright Award and was a finalist for the 2015 Kennedy Prize.
The DeVoy Perspectives on Theatre Series, a program made possible by a gift from the DeVoy family, annually brings professionals and creative forces in theater and the performing arts to Boston College, to share their experience and vision.
The October 11th lecture will be followed by an artist Q&A, led by Dawn M. Simmons, artistic director of The Front Porch Arts Collective Artistic Director.