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Interview: Darin F. Earl II's THE NIGHT SHIFT to be Nutley Little Theatre's First Virtual Readers' Theater!

THE NIGHT SHIFT-Nutley Little Theatre’s First Virtual Readers’ Theater

Interview: Darin F. Earl II's THE NIGHT SHIFT to be Nutley Little Theatre's First Virtual Readers' Theater!

Join us on October 8th at 8:00 PM for Nutley Little Theatre's Virtual Readers' Theater on Facebook and YouTube! Readers' Theatre, is a staged reading series originally developed by one of the Theatre's area directors, Penny Potenz Winship. It's a series of free events in which actors read from scripts for a unique appreciation of classic and contemporary works.

The series is Nutley Little Theatre's way of giving back to the community for their support and patronage of the regular mainstage productions.

Nutley Little Theatre, as all theatres should be, is a place of inclusivity, equality and they are working on our diversity. This year, under the guidance of George Seylaz, Readers' Theatre is adapting and responding to the world in which we live in new ways. All presentations will be offered virtually as productions, rather than simply readings. The scripts will be memorized and will have a more production value then you might expect from a staged reading, not that unlike an in person performance.

Beginning this year, Readers' Theatre serves as the springboard for making space for voices that have been underrepresented on stage for far too long. All four Reader's Theatre calendar slots will focus on presenting original works that explore, navigate, and lift up the diversity that is all around us. To put those voices center stage where they can be seen, where they can be heard, and where they can shine.

This upcoming Readers' Theater piece is written by Darin F. Earl II and directed by Tasha R. Williams. "The Night Shift" explores how the members of a Black family are burdened with their sister's overnight shift gone wrong. Their relationships are challenged and their love put to the test when their roles as caretakers undermine their roles as siblings. Starring Naja Shelby-Morton, Henry Davis, and Robert Barnes Jr.!

I had the pleasure of interviewing playwright, Darin F. Earl II.

Please tell us a little about yourself!

Darin: First-Gen Queer POC, NJ Native (Union County), Jamaican heritage, with a background in theatre pursuing writing & film-making. 1 of 6 children, 1st to graduate from a 4-year college, only Black Theatre Performance major in graduating class. Avid cloud watcher, puppy poppa, aspiring director. Big fan of the color green and turtles.

Tell us about your involvement in theater.

Darin: I started senior year of high school, first show was Rent! [as Benny] & took off from there. Always had a penchant for writing since youth, but acting took the wheel through college. Did a little stage managing and tech for some productions when I wasn't involved as an actor. Got bit by the directing bug Senior year when we took a one semester course. Got the chance to study physical theatre [commedia del arte/mask work, carpet theatre, biomechanics] abroad [London for a semester & Croatia for a theatre festival]. President of Theatre Fraternity in university and dove into the Jersey scene after graduation in 2016. Favorite roles include Rum Tum Tugger from Cats! with Just-Off Broadway Productions in 2015 and Happy Loman from Death of a Salesman with Somerset Valley Playhouse in 2019. Recently: Fellow at Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, Interim Director of Education at Writers Theatre of New Jersey & an acting company member of Luna Stage Co. Currently: Dramaturg Facilitator at New Jersey Play Lab; actor in resident companies with New Jersey Creative Arts Collaborative, New Jersey Play Lab. A voiceover artists & looking to start educational theatre programs with a few theatre companies in New Jersey to fortify the network. Currently EMC and Non-union.

What is "The Night Shift" about?

Darin: A Black family is burdened with their sister's overnight shift gone wrong. Their relationships are challenged and their love put to the test when their roles as caretakers undermine their roles as siblings.

What inspired you to write this piece?

Darin: I wanted to see an avenue of representation that we don't often hear about. The juxtaposition of our Black families in constant service to the outer world while also experiencing turmoil and duress in their personal lives. My parents met in the healthcare field and knowing how hard they work, I wanted to focus on the impact other families may experience if one of their caretakers were in a compromising position. I initially wrote a scene for the Kean University Premiere Stage's Voices Healing Voices Festival about caretakers and the scene was well-received by other writers! Unfortunately, we didn't get to produce the reading as COVID impacted the event date, though we've slated it for next year.

What has it been like for you to do theater virtually?

Darin: It's been interesting, to say the least. I've gotten to lean a little more into the writing aspect of my craft, which has been a privilege in and of itself. There's not a particular aversion I have to working virtually, since it's a bit more convenient to be more involved in different projects / places, though it does make it feel more transactional, as opposed to collaborative. Anyone can do theatre virtually, but we, as artists, are discovering that there's a very open space to navigate towards a??gooda?? theatre done virtually. We'll all get there, eventually!

Darin also had an additional important message for our readers... "If you are experiencing an instance where you're worried about your own mental, emotional and/or physical well-being, please seek help. There are a plethora of resources available online and no one should feel ashamed of being a human being or wanting to help others when they need it. Thank you for supporting artists and for existing, so artists can continue to be inspired!"

If you would like to stay in the loop about Darin's upcoming projects you can follow him on Instagram: @OfficialDarinEarl, Twitter: @DarinEarl Facebook: and Imdb:

The shows will be streamed via Nutley Little Theatre's Facebook page and YouTube channel. No special link is required, you simply log onto either service on the show's announced stream date and enjoy.

Donations gratefully accepted through PayPal at, GoFundMe at, and Venmo at @nutletlittletheatre or by mailing a check to NLT.

For more information, please visit or follow them on Facebook: @NutleyLittleTheatre and Instagram: @NutleyLittleTheatreNJ

If you are a playwright and have an original piece that lines up with the Nutley Little Theatre endeavor please email it with a brief synopsis to : Submissions should have small casts, no longer then 60 mins and be unpublished, original work.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Darin F. Earl II

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