Interview with a Playwright

I hope you all are getting ready for “Boxes” The Play in 2 weeks!  Tickets are going fast, so you may want to get yours quickly! 

I had the pleasure of speaking with the writer of “Boxes” Ebony Custis last week.  Read on to find out more about her, RoseProse Productions, and her upcoming play.

How long have you been writing plays?

Since 1997. I studied under Caleen S. Jennings during an internship at American University. She taught me about analyzing dramatic literature and how to create interesting characters and story lines. I’ve been writing plays ever since.

 What can the audience expect from this play?

BOXES will make audiences think; ‘What could I do if I stopped hiding? Stopped being afraid of what would happen if I took a chance?’ They’ll be forced to wonder about the conversations they’ve been too terrified to have and ask themselves how their lives would improve if they would just go ahead and tell the truth!

What did you use for inspiration for this play?

BOXES asks the question ‘If you knew you were capable of greatness, what would you do tomorrow?’ I asked myself that same question in 2008. For me, the answer was ‘ I would write and share my writing around the world. So I did. BOXES was first staged in Trinidad and now we’re preparing for our second show in DC.

I drew inspiration from the realization that I am not the only one with big dreams and big fears. I’m not the only one who allows fear, past disappointments, and the opinions of others to hold me back. I wanted to write something that would help myself and others get beyond those obstacles and start turning dreams into reality.

In BOXES the audience will meet every day people in the same situations we find ourselves in. They are trying to be their best self but something is holding them back. So, the characters have to choose; will they remain stagnant or will they decide to move forward.

Where else has this play been performed? Do you plan on taking it anywhere else?

BOXES was first staged by the Trinidad Theatre Workshop in Port of Spain, Trinidad. 

I’d really like to bring BOXES back to DC for a longer run in the near future. I’d also like to stage it overseas in another language. My top picks are Salvador Bahia and Merida Mexico but I’m open to other places if the opportunities present themselves.

How long has RoseProse Productions been in existence?

Unofficially, RoseProse was born in 2000 when I self published my first book of poetry ‘My Moments.’ However, it wasn’t until 2008 that I really solidified the vision and mission of RoseProse. In 2000 I was writing poems, essays and plays and it was a useful time in my life because it helped me to grow into a better writer. Now, I write poems, plays, and novels for a specific purpose:

RoseProse Productions offers entertaining and motivational literature in the United States and abroad to encourage cross-cultural understanding by emphasizing commonalities of the human experience.

What other plays have you written?

My first play was a one-act ‘The Tree House.’ My second one-act ‘Strange Reflections’ won the College Language Association’s first prize in Dramatic literature in 2001. I’ve also written other one acts as well as two full length plays; ‘Taylor’s Gift’ and ‘The Watering Hole.’

Taylor’s Gift explores how the gift of religion is tainted when institutions and greed are allowed to overshadow the simple message of unconditional love.

Are there plans for another play?

Absolutely! RoseProse will stage ‘The Watering Hole’ at the DC Arts Center in Adams Morgan in May 2011. The play asks the question “If you could change yourself, who would you become? And what would you be willing to sacrifice to make that change?’

 What can your audience expect next from RoseProse Productions?

Excellence.

I’ve always been an avid reader and I came to realize that there is, unfortunately, a clear divide between good stories and motivational literature.  Good stories take you on a journey. We remember the characters and we feel like we’re with them every step of the way – the stories take us out of ourselves. Motivational literature makes us focus on ourselves and how we can be better. I love literature that does both -but sometimes it’s hard to find. Now, of course, there are exceptions: Paulo Coelho, Tennessee Williams, Toni Morrison, George Orwell, Ayi Kwei Armah, Elizabeth Gilbert and others, but not enough. I’d like to be one of those exceptions. To grow the body of entertaining motivational literature.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

Have fun. Stay healthy. And if you’ve got some spare time on Dec 6 or 7, stop by Source and see BOXES.

You heard it here, folks! Go get your tickets and stop by the Source Theater.  I will tell you Elle will be there opening night!  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city!

Flash Mob for “Boxes”

Happy Monday!  I know you all saw my post about the play “Boxes” coming to DC in a few weeks!  Well, to get in on the action BEFORE the play comes to theaters, take a look at what’s happening this weekend.  If you’re in the DMV, you should definitely come out! 🙂

All,

In order to generate a buzz about “BOXES”, we are planning a Flash Mob for Saturday Nov 20 from 11am – 1:30pm.  Please plan to attend/participate and, most importantly, enlist the help of your friends/family/colleagues. Details on the event are outlined below.

**All Participants will be Volunteers**

PURPOSE:

To generate curiosity and excitement about the upcoming play BOXES. To film videos of the Flash Mob and circulate on the web.

www.boxestheplay.com

WHEN:

Saturday November 20 from 11am – 1:30pm 

WHERE: 

We will hit several locations, spending about 10 minutes at each stop. Participants can drive themselves from one stop to the next or use transportation provided by BOXES crew. We will start at Eastern Market then proceed to Dupont Circle, P st Whole Foods, Columbia Heights Shopping Plaza, and the Portrait Gallery in China Town.

The first stop is Eastern Market. Participants should gather at (6th & C SE DC) at 10:45am.

WHAT:

A large crowd of BRIDES will appear to attend an auction of an eligible BACHELOR. The BACHELOR will be auctioned off by his MOTHER. Women playing BRIDES will wear their own wedding dresses, white dresses, or white suits. BRIDES must bring their own white clothing and will be provided with veils, tiaras, and bridal bouquets. The BACHELOR and MOTHER will be played by members of the BOXES cast. BRIDES will shout phrases to the MOTHER to determine if the BACHELOR is a good catch, such as:

 – Can he fix anything?

 – Is he good with children?

 – Does he have a job?

 – How old is he?

 – How much money does he make?

 – Will he watch romance comedy’s with me?

 – Will he expect me to cook every day?

(Additional phrases/questions will be provided to participants, however you are free to make up your own as well! PLEASE do not yell inappropriate or overtly sexual remarks.)

HOW CAN YOU BE A PART OF THIS FLASH MOB?

We are looking for people to fill the following positions:

BRIDES – 100 women

VIDEOGRAPHER – 2

STREET TEAM (to pass out fliers during the auction) – 3

DRIVERS – 6

** All Participants will be Volunteers**

WHO DO I CONTACT TO CONFIRM MY PARTICIPATION?

Ebony: 301 742 4673 OR BOXES@roseprose.com

“BOXES” The Play

If you’re looking for great theater and a play with a purpose, then you must see “Boxes” December 6 or 7.  Read more below.

BOXES Comes to Source and Unpacks Hidden Potential

“If you knew you were capable of greatness, what would you do tomorrow?” is BOXES tag line and, now, the question on everyone’s lips. Audiences can’t wait to see just what BOXES holds in store.

Washington DC – Ebony Custis’ two-act play, directed by local talent Brandon White, will be presented at Source Theatre in Northwest Washington D.C., December 6 and 7, 2010 at 7:30pm. BOXES enjoyed four sold out performances during the Trinidad Theatre Workshop’s 50 Year Anniversary in Port of Spain in March 2010, and now its coming stateside!  The central question of the play kept audiences talking and brought many patrons back to enjoy the show again. BOXES, a RoseProse production, will feature nine local actors; Stephanie Svec of Washington Improv Theatre, Angus Whitfield, Jabari A. K. Holder, Maryam Foye, Daphne Sharpe, Kimber Lee, Jim Cigno, Don Michael Mendoza, and Skyler Marshall.

BOXES centers on the lives of ordinary people who have allowed their ordinary problems to ruin their lives in extraordinary ways. Using eight intriguing vignettes, the play explores the characters’ motivations for hiding desire, fear, and untapped potential inside of ‘boxes.’ The stories range from hilarious to tragic as each character struggles to unpack what they’ve hidden in order to believe once again in their own capacity for greatness.  To become their best selves, characters will struggle with loved ones, family, and even their own negative thoughts. Some characters will succeed, while others will choose failure.  Audiences will continue debating the final scene long after leaving the theatre.

Ebony Custis is a native of Bowie, Maryland. She has published two volumes of poetry, My Moments and Defining the Color of Ebony and has been featured as a regular on the D.C. “open mic” poetry circuit. She is now a United States Foreign Officer and enjoys traveling the world with her daughter. RoseProse productions offers entertaining and motivational literature plays, shows in the United States and abroad and encourages cross cultural understanding by emphasizing commonalities of the human experience.

BOXES will be showing on December 6 -7, 2010 at 7:30pm at Source, located at 1835 14th Street NW Washington DC.

Tickets for BOXES are $17.00 and can be purchased at Source, through www.BOXEStheplay.com or www.brownpapertickets.com.

Contact RoseProse Productions at BOXES@Roseprose.com or (301) 742-4673.