Reflections on the Next to Kin One-Act Festival

Back in April 2018, something magical happened. I was commissioned to write a short play in tribute to one of my favorite writers of all time.

I was first introduced to Octavia Butler in college. Hungering for stories that centered folks who looked like me, that went to places and themes that I never considered in other works of fantasy and science fiction, I stumbled upon Dawn, Butler’s first novel in the Xenogenesis series. Years later, I strive to write stories just as insanely brilliant as Octavia Butler’s stories. Year later, FRESHH Inc. Theatre Company says, “Hey, we want to do a festival paying tribute to the legacy of Octavia Butler.” Years late, out of my head pops Afromemory.

Afromemory was about a woman with brown skin going through the future’s version of a quarter-life crisis. On top of the literal pressures of dating and marrying, she experiences a crisis of identity in a world that does not acknowledge race or ethnic culture, having scapegoated such constructs for violence, and political dissent in the world’s past. She begins a journey through her ancestral past that will change her life and endanger it forever.

This was my first time having something I wrote produced for the stage. I was honored to be among six playwrights: Nina Anglea Mercer, Adanna Paul, Maryam Foye, Heather Gibson, and Ebony Rosemond, who all shared a love for what Octavia Butler stood for…

…placing black women in the future, front and center.

Thank you to Goldie Patrick, founder and executive director of FRESHH Inc. Theatre for this opportunity, to Ayesis Clay who directed my play brilliantly and to Lori Pitts (Sarah S) and Tara Yates (Sarah B) who brought my play and its characters to life on stage.

You can learn more about what FRESHH Inc. Theater has in store HERE.