PATERSON, NJ—The Paterson Performing Arts Development Council (PPADC) announced the first place winner of its 2020 Show Me The Monologue Playwriting Competition is Houston-based playwright Bryan-Keyth Wilson. His choreopoem FOR COLORED BOYZ On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown/ When Freedom Aint Enuff was among a group of high caliber projects selected from over 100 submissions nationwide by a panel of judges. As the first place winner Wilson is the recipient of PPADC’s playwright-in-residence program. He will receive developmental support over a six-month period. This includes working with a dramaturge, director, and other creative team members to mount a mainstage production of FOR COLORED BOYZ as part of PPADC’s lineup during the inaugural Hamilton Arts Festival (June 17–25, 2021).
Competitors were asked to submit a script and upload a video monologue no more than five minutes long taken from their script. Entrants were encouraged to submit work that depicts a unique cultural experience, heritage perspective, and/or social justice issue.
“We were excited to host our first annual playwriting contest to nurture the creative process and to allow lesser known voices to shine,” said PPADC Board President Denise E. Womack. “Bryan’s monologue caught our attention, and then his script blew us away. We can't wait to bring this compelling, timely, and wonderfully written play to the Hamilton Arts Festival Centerstage.” She added, “we're very excited to work with Bryan as our first in-residence artist.”
"Today's news is bittersweet as I learn about my residency, my hometown is dealing with another pandemic that plagues our world and that is police brutality towards black men,” said Wilson. “A young man by the name of Joshua Feast was gunned down and shot in the back by La Marque Police Officer Jose Santos. It's moments such as this where FOR COLORED BOYZ was birthed! I am blessed and grateful to have the opportunity as an author/playwright to use the medium of the American Theatre where I can share stories such as Joshua's,” he added.
FOR COLORED BOYZ On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown/ When Freedom Ain't Enuff examines the dark realities of what it means to be a man of color in America. Wilson's work delves into issues such as toxic masculinity, homophobia, systematic racism, mental health, colorism, and police brutality. This composition is a collection of 35 poems telling the stories of black men from slavery to the present, performed by five nameless men represented only by colors: Man in Black, Man in Red, Man in Green, Man in Orange, and Man in Blue. FOR COLORED BOYZ is inspired by Ntozake Shange's choreopoem For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf.
An esteemed panel of judges volunteered their time and experience to review the Show Me The Monologue script submissions and rate each one with constructive comments. The panel was comprised of theater professionals, actors, producers, directors, professors, and poet laureates.
“This is an exciting time for Literary and Performing Arts, especially with the Paterson Performing Arts Development Council,” said Susan Justiniano, known as Rescue Poetix, a first generation Puerto Rican poet, performer, and community leader. “Participating as a judge for new and original material has been thrilling. Bryan-Keyth Wilson’s FOR COLORED BOYZ is a much needed voice in today's climate and strong enough to be heard through the masses,” added Justiniano, who holds the honor of being the first woman appointed Poet Laureate of Jersey City.
Sherida Yoder, a poet and professor of English at Felician University, added, “it has been an honor for me to work with fellow judges who have such impressive talents as well as a deep commitment to the arts in Paterson. From the beginning of this century to the present, so many writers have been inspired by and connected to Paterson. Writers like Emma Goldman, William Carlos Williams, Allen Ginsberg, John Updike, Junot Diaz, Maria Mazziotti Gillan, Judith Ortiz-Cofer, and Rosa Alcala,” said Yoder, who is the author and project director of Prism Paterson, a minor and certificate at Felician. “This award shows how our community’s rich cultural heritage is constantly renewed by recognizing and celebrating artists like our contest winner.”
The second place winner of the Show Me The Monologue Playwriting Competition is Abigail by Sarah Tuft. She will benefit from PPADC’s playwright-in-residence program through developmental support and a staged reading of her play that tackles themes around sexism and #MeToo. Honorable Mentions: Amy Louise Bernstein’s The Legend of Tommy Tremain, Daryl Stamp’s Dumbed Down, Nathaniel Baker’s Um...Om, Joshua Young’s Appalachian Pachinko, and Marc Aronoff’s A Night In Jerusalem.
PPADC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that is dedicated to fostering collaboration with other local organizations and community partners to provide increased access and opportunities to artists of diverse backgrounds. PPADC is on a mission to establish pathways for new and accomplished artists through the delivery of the performing arts and multicultural community events in Paterson and thereby positioning the Silk City as a premier hub for creative arts and cultural education. PPADC is an inaugural Affiliate Member of New Jersey Theater Alliance, the country’s first statewide professional theater service organization, representing a consortium of 40 performing arts and theater companies.
For more information, please contact team PPADC at email@example.com and visit www.ppadc.org.