the road weeps, the well runs dry is the second installment in a trilogy about the migration of Black Seminoles (African and Native American people) from Florida to Oklahoma. The first act of the road weeps traces events leading up to the Civil War in Wewoka, Oklahoma and the second act follows the war. At its core, the play is about a group of people whose faith and identity are put to test when their water well runs dry.
Led by the Lark Play Development Center, Launching New Plays into the Repertoire is a national initiative to transform the American theater repertoire to reflect shifting demographics and emerging issues of local, national and global concern. This is accomplished by “creating a movement” around a single playwright’s vision by a consortium of five theaters that commit to developing and producing what many consider “risky” plays and to engage in local and national conversations about each play’s relevance and potential impact. The first three pilot rounds of this program, involving 12 individual theaters and three playwrights, will be completed by June 2014.
Playwright Marcus Gardley and his play the road weeps, the well runs dry is the centerpiece of Cycle II. The consortium of theaters producing this play consists of the Perseverance Theatre, Pillsbury House Theatre, Los Angeles Theatre Center, and the University of South Florida School of Theatre and Dance. In advance of each production, conversations around the play’s themes of spirituality, migration, identity, education, sexuality and myth are facilitated locally by Donna Walker-Kuhne, the project’s community engagement consultant. The first production has now begun rehearsals at the Perseverance Theatre in Alaska!
Please join us in saluting our Tampa community partners:
Marcus Gardley (playwright of the road weeps, the well runs dry) is a poet-playwright who recently won the 2011 PEN\ Laura Pels Award for an American Playwright in Mid-Career. His most recent play every tongue confess premiered at the Arena Stage, starring Phylicia Rashad and directed by Kenny Leon. It was nominated for the Steinberg New Play Award. His play, On The Levee, premiered at Lincoln Center and was nominated for 11 Audelco Awards including outstanding playwright. In 2008, he won the prestigious Helen Merril Award and a Kesselring honor. His play, …and Jesus Moonwalks the Mississippi, was produced at the Cutting Ball Theater and received both critical and audience acclaim; it was named one of the top ten plays in the Bay Area in 2010, and had two sold-out extensions.
His Bay Area plays This World in a Woman’s Hands (October 2009) and Love is a Dream House in Lorin (March 2007) have been hailed as the best in Bay Area theater. The latter was nominated for the National Critics Steinberg New Play Award. Other produced plays include: dance of the holy ghost at Yale Repertory Theatre (now under a commercial Broadway option), (L)imitations of Life, at the Empty Space and like sun fallin’ in the mouth at the National Black Theatre Festival.
Gardley is the recipient of the SF Bay Area’s Gerbode Emerging Playwright Award, the National Alliance for Musical Theatre Award, the Eugene O’Neill Memorial Scholarship, and the ASCAP Cole Porter Prize. He holds an MFA in Playwriting from the Yale Drama School and is a member of New Dramatists, The Dramatists Guild and the Lark Play Development Center. Gardley, a native of West Oakland, was recently chosen as one of 50 writers to watch by Dramatists Magazine. He is also a Visiting Assistant Professor at Brown University.