Intro to Special Feature: Short plays, Choreo-poems and/or Hybrid Performance Textsby Idris Goodwin, Guest Editor
Muzzle, I thank you for letting us playwrights come play.
Plays are often left out of the literary clubhouse occupied primarily by fiction, poetry and (sometimes) creative nonfiction. Plays occupy an odd territory.
As a writer of plays, performance poetry, rap music and essays, I have long been an advocate for true cross-disciplinary exchange. Each form has its own vocabulary and aesthetics. Spending time in each will greatly inform the other. Just as innovations in page bound forms of fiction and poetry are celebrated in journals, performance writers have much to add to the contemporary lit-scape. We too are interested in economy of language, the balance between show and tell, the birth of style through copying, cutting and remixing.
Here we have three unique performance writers using very specific forms to build compelling stage worlds. They have crafted clear voices and multiple threads of perspective—built worlds within small south side Chicago homes, electronic settings and a hornet’s nest. Jamila Woods very carefully paints the scene for you in her beautifully strange “fairyghost tale” theShark, while Clinnesha D. Sibley’s biting #communicate cleverly allows social networking to dictate a spare use of language. Fatimah Asghar’s Forgiveness, an impressive hybrid poem/play/elegy, places a fairly straightforward and rigid structure onto metaphorical language weighted by its subject matter.
My hope is that you and a few friends will read these aloud, as if they were a songbook with shape notes. Pop open a bottle of something, and say these words. Or just as I did, read them slowly—with your mental director filling the stage with performers, lights and sound.