AAPEX Interview: Glenn Alan, playwright and founder of the DC Black Theatre Festival — DC Black Theatre Festival , Glenn Alan — AAPEX

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

AAPEX Interview: Glenn Alan, playwright and founder of the DC Black Theatre Festival

Glenn Alan

2010 will see the debut of the D C Black Theatre Festival, founded by playwright Glenn Alan. Hopefuly this will offer great opportunites for many playwrights, both this year and in years to come. I asked Mr. Alan to tell us something about himself and about his festival. Below are his responses.
Jaz Dorsey

What role did theatre and the arts play in your childhood and upbringing?
The first real play I remember attending as a child wasn’t a real play at all. I was about 10 or 11 and Alvin Ailey was in town. Now, I would love to tell you that my mother, being the great Patient Saint of exposure and well roundedness took us to see Revelations featuring Judith Jamison, but she didn’t. Instead, Alvin asked if he could visit the local schools in the poorest sections of town, one of which I happened to be attending. And on that small ragged stage, in the poorest school in the district, I watched words and form come together like I had never seen. It was that moment that I fell in love, not with dance (Cause I can’t dance) but with movement. Two days later, I crafted my first play, using words as movement. In my mind, word aren’t spoken, they dance! I’ve been writing that way ever since.

Tell us about your own evolution as an artist.
I wrote all through high school, poetry mostly. It wasn’t until I got to college that I began to take the work seriously. I staged my first few plays as poetic monologues. From there the work began to take a life of its own, monologues became dialogues, solos became couples and short scenes became entire acts, but the poetry stayed laced through-out the work. I think in that way I’m different as a playwright. I listen to the rhythm in the words and how they move across the stage, dance and land in the laps of the audience. Revelations!

What inspired you to found The D C Black Theatre Festival?
For years I have been a part of some very important festivals. At the early beginning of the National Black theater festival, at the opening of the first black arts festival and even in a few local fringe festivals. But as a playwright they all seemed to be missing the flexibility I needed as a writer. So I started attending them for a different reason, to learn what they were not doing, and from that I pulled the best of the best; a festival that spoke to the artist.

What can we look forward to for this year's festival?
A diverse group of work! And I mean diverse. We are blending writing from urban theater to tradition theatre, from church plays to adult themes, from Post College grad writers to GED napkin writers. DC Black Theatre Festival is a true celebration of what it means to be a writer, actor, producer of African descent.

What are your thoughts on DC as a theatre town?
DC is theatre’s best kept secret! Nowhere in the world will you find such a diverse group of writers, actors, and theatre lovers like we have in DC. From opulent Arena Stage to DC Arts Center’s black box, Washington is an amalgamation of refreshing theatre. But don’t tell anyone! We don’t want this to become some baby Broadway.

Oh by the way, I still have Alvin Ailey’s autograph, it sits on my desk in a small frame next to my new work, a poetic dialogue about love and movement.

Please click the post's title to visit the DC Black Theatre Festival website.

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