On this podcast, on a beautiful night in Old City, I caught up with playwright, director, teacher, and actor James Ijames, whose latest play, WHITE, is enjoying a critically acclaimed world-premiere production at Norristown’s Theatre Horizon. Meanwhile, this Barrymore and F. Otto Haas Emerging Artist Award winner’s The Most Spectacularly Lamentable Trial of Miz Martha Washington opened at the Ally Theatre in Washington, D.C., on April 30, 2017; another, Kill Move Paradise, opens at New York’s National Black Theatre on May 31, 2017. Ijames also recently won the $50,000 Whiting Award for “emerging writers who exhibit great promise.”
“A jazz guy”
Philadelphia audiences already know he’s delivered on that promise. Here we discuss the creative process and how Ijames’s work was enhanced after development at PlayPenn’s new-play conference. We also touch on provocation in art, a playwright’s responsibility to their audience, and the Whitney Biennial’s Emmett Till controversy. While WHITE traverses some rocky territory, it’s very funny. Ijames explains, “I’m a jazz guy, not a blues guy.” So what play does Ijames really adore? The answer may surprise you.
For Wendy Rosenfield’s review of WHITE, click here.