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Our Mission is to Create Theatre And Meaningful Experiences With & For The People That Reflect Our Many Communities.

ABOUT THE NEXT DRAMATIST

  • The Next Dramatist is a development program for first-time writers and emerging playwrights based in New Jersey. 
  • This tailored program consists of workshops on structure, character, and story, through one-on-one mentoring sessions.
  • Each writer will be paired with a director, and joined by community actors to read their scripts and rewrites throughout the process.

Session #1

Hill Street Auto

A New Play By Charlie Hudson III
Directed by Michelle Dorant
Presentation on April 8, 2024

About The Show:

Hill Street Auto
reveals a thoughtful account of life in Montgomery, AL in the 1950’s, as Black Americans strive for progress amid escalating Jim Crow hostilities. The story is nestled in the experience of two Tuskegee Airmen vets, Lee ‘Sarge’ Andrews and James ‘Hamp’ Hampton, who have managed to transition to civilian life by opening an auto shop, supporting the community around them, and mentoring the burgeoning youth in the NAACP. As tensions grow, our characters must wrestle with the perpetuation of hate, forgiveness, and reconciling what is and what might be. Hudson's story illuminates the courage and compassion of “unsung heroes of the Gump”, whose impact has changed the world.

 

MEET THE ARTISTS

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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW with Charlie Hudson III (Playwright)

What inspired you to write this play?

My biggest inspiration to write this play was my Grandmother, Pauline Moore Jeter Watley. My
grandmother transitioned three days after my birthday, September 16, 2021, and I wanted to honor her in my own special way. My grandmother was born and raised in Montgomery, AL and she was dedicated to the church, her family, and fighting for the rights of everyone in the Black community. She was the secretary for the Montgomery Improvement Association, she taught reading and writing to those who weren’t able to attend school, and she taught people who were then newly registered voters how to vote. During the time of the “Bus Boycott”, my grandparents used their personal vehicle to carpool protesters all over the city, and during the “March from Selma to Montgomery”, they opened their doors to let marchers stay in their home. All of this was done while raising six children and working as a nurse. I knew I wanted to pay homage to my grandmother and shine light on the countless other unsung heroes of the Civil Rights Movement, specifically in Montgomery, AL, and I thought the best way to do that was by writing a play.

What has been your greatest challenge in writing this play?

My greatest challenge in writing this play was thoroughly flushing out each character’s backstory. Whenever I work on a project, as an actor or writer, my subconscious is constantly thinking about the work. I will have dreams and daydreams about the characters and world of whatever project I’m working on at the time. For “Hill Street Auto”, I was dreaming about the characters so much that I would wake up and either jot down a few notes or voice record my new revelations. In these dreams, the characters would either plainly tell me how they felt about something or I would see them going about their everyday life. These insights helped me to weave together all of their desires and motivations, which in my opinion, makes a script more compelling and authentic.
 

Why is this play relevant today?

This play is relevant today because the legacy of the movement must be preserved and extend well past the known figures. Almost all American history has been portrayed inaccurately and is now actively being erased, especially in the education system. This play gives the audience an authentic glimpse of the zeitgeist of 1955 Montgomery, AL, and the inception of the Civil Rights Movement. So much of our history and contributions to America and the World is diminished. Artistic works like “Hill Street Auto,” will continue to tell our story and inspire the audience to learn more about the heritage of Black/African Americans for themselves.

 

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW with Michelle Dorant (Director)

What is your approach when working with an emerging writer?
The goal is always to help the playwright sculpt the best possible script that tells the
story the writer wants to convey. To be a constructive and helpful voice in the editing
process so that the playwright’s vision is realized.


What excites you about this project?
I am excited to explore what life was like for these characters during this pivotal time in
American History in Montgomery Alabama as a black person. And that Charlie has
chosen to tell this story through the lens of a few of Montgomery’s citizens of different
ages and experiences enriches the story in many ways. I am also thrilled to be
working with great artists and creatives in bringing this story to life.

Session #2

Closet Writer

A New Play By Antu Yacob
May 20th at 7pm
Reading Location: Theater 555 (Manhattan)

555 West 42nd Street
New York, NY 10036

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Closet Writer is a nod to the past, living in the present, awaiting the freedom tomorrow brings. B. GEM is a Black woman living in the United States of America. She is a daughter, sister, wife, mother and writer. In this two woman play, we meet the life moments she failed and those she overcame. We meet the interesting people that shaped her, for good and bad. Ultimately, we meet the her that forces her to see herself. Blessed, broken, messy, thriving and All.

 

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Session #3

Body of Christie

A Play By Karen Alvarado
Presentation on July 8, 2024

About The Play:

Christie Barboza is a shy and young Latina from Corpus Christi, Texas. Despite crippling stage fright, she joins the Quetzal Theatre Company, a humble Hispanic historical touring group.

Quetzal quickly creates a foundation of confidence and friendship in her otherwise fragile life. In Christie's hyperactive imagination, she blames her family’s misfortunes on the melodramatic figure of Tragedia. But this imaginary crutch prevents her from acknowledging reality as a series of choices rather than fate. Christie counters Tragedia’s havoc by fusing the magic of theatre with her Tejano heritage as a subconscious means for processing the secrets and hardships of her dysfunctional Latino family led by Rick, Christie's ambitious father. On this journey Christie finds the courage to act in public by embracing a riveting oration from Las Soldaderas of the Mexican Revolution, she navigates a broken female friendship through La Malinche's betrayal of the Aztec Empire, weeps for the loss of loved ones as the wounded Los Tejanos on the frontier, endures ethnic prejudice alongside The Greasers of the 1950s and expresses unbridled rage for her father during La Llorona's murderous rampage. With mounting tension, Christie watches Rick ruin her family's finances, destroy her mother's life, lose a public office, and dismantle her sacred and beloved theatre company. Christie fights back in her imagination with the aid of Luchador-esque versions of her hometown's Catholic icons. The Virgin Mary appears to hold back her hair after an irresponsible night of vodka, the Saints punish a villain by placing him in a karate chokehold, and the Angels swoop in to defend her mother's honor by sparring in a nasty text message fight with Rick's mistress. In this sprawling tale along the Texas-Mexico border, Christie Barboza transitions from victim to survivor, child to woman, and daughter to mother. By confronting her father, accepting reality over fantasy, and owning her own hand in life's tragedies, Christie Barboza struggles to write her own narrative as a strong latina artist.

This coming-of-age narrative immerses audiences in cultural heritage, ethnic tensions and socio-economic hardship linked to Latinos upward mobility. Body of Christie (working title) utilizes Latino history and Texas-soaked magical realism that blends truth, trauma, and nostalgia.

 

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