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New Black Works: Damone Williams’ WARD|FOSTER

Welcome to New Black Works, a bi-monthly profile of emerging Black playwrights and their work.

This is a new venture here at Broadway Black that we think you’ll enjoy. It is our hope that we can introduce you to next-generation movers and shakers, whose work as playwrights documents the non-monolithic brilliance of the Black experience here in America and abroad.

First up is a young actor, writer, and filmmaker — a self-titled Griot — whose work highlights the lives and lived experiences of Black gay men in America.

Damone Williams is a California born and bred artist who is steadily making a name for himself in the film industry. But be not mistaken, the theatre is his home. In his piece WARD|FOSTER, we follow the story of two foster brothers who return home to the Oakland, California cul-de-sac they grew up on, after their foster mother dies. The young men find themselves knee-deep in messy tension, and end up forced to deal with vicious inner demons and suppressed taboo feelings, that the house brings to a head.

We introduce to you:
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What are your goals with this particular piece?

With WARD|FOSTER I’ve set out to take a peek into the interior lives of a group of people as they deal with the ramifications ofdeath, and the revelation of something taboo that has taken root in their home. If I can usher in a rarely-had conversation with this piece, my work will be done.

For you — why storytelling through the medium of theatre?

Theatre is a spiritual experience — a meeting of The Creator and the people, if you will. Having the privilege of telling stories in this medium is a honor. I come from the world of film, and one thing I’ve realized is: I absolutely love (and hunger for) that immediate communing with a community of people. That’s not something that is usually offered in the realm of film. Theatre, for me, is King. The beginning. The original medium. Home.

Share your thoughts on the importance of the Black voice (or the voice moving ‘at the margin’) in the theatre.

As an artist who is Black and happens to identify as queer, the Black voice and/or the voice moving ‘at the margin,’ is of utter importance. As a people, Black queer folk’s voices have been disproportionately side-lined or ignored. One of my goals is to give voice back to members of my community, through my work in the arts.

What play do you wish you had written, and why?

Good question! August Wilson’s ‘Fences,’ I think. That piece resonates so deeply with me. August’s words are poetry. His characters are so familiar. I hear the voice of my people in his work. Yeah — if I could’ve written any play, it would’ve been ‘Fences.’

What’s next for you? What are you working on?

Outside of continuing to pursue my career as an actor, I’m actively writing. I have a short film in the can that I’ll hopefully be producing really soon. I’m also exploring a web series idea. On top of that I’m dabbling in a handful of other projects for stage and film. I have to have my hands in all kinds of different pots at once, I’ve learned. Focusing on just one project at a time drives me crazy! Lol.

Damone Williams

 Ways to stay in touch with the playwright:

Twitter: @DamoneWilliams_
 Facebook: Damone Williams
 Instagram: griotDAMONE

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