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Reginald Edmund

Posted on the 10 October 2012 by Scriptedwhim
Reginald EdmundReginald Edmund is a resident playwright of Chicago Dramatists. He was previously a 2009-2010, 2010-2011 Many Voices Fellow playwright. Originally from Houston, Texas, he served Artistic Director for the Silver House Theatre, as well as the founder and producer for the Silver House Playwrights Festival and the Houston Urban Theatre Series. Reggie was the inaugural recipient of the  Kennedy Center Fellowship at Soul Mountain Retreat as well as the 2009 National Runner-up for the Lorraine Hansberry and Rosa Parks Playwriting Award. He received his BFA in Theatre-Performance from Texas Southern University, and his MFA in playwriting at Ohio University under the guidance of Charles Smith. In 2009 He founded the Unit Collective and in 2010 he was named Winner of The Southern Writers Competition, and recognized by TCG as a 2011 Young Leader of Color.
His plays, 'The Ordained Smile of Sadie May Jenkins', 'Southbridge', 'Juneteenth Street', and 'The Redemption of Allah Black', all part of his nine-play series The City of the Bayou Collection, were developed at esteemed theaters including Ensemble Theatre of Houston, Silver House Theatre, Penumbra Theatre, the Playwrights’ Center, Boston Playwrights' Theatre, Moving Arts, Karamu House, Pangea World Theater, the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, Texas State University Black and Latino Theatre Conference, the Last Frontier Theater Conference, and the Kennedy Center. Most recently he traveled to Colombia to serve as the guest speaker at the Intercolegiado de Teatro de Buenaventura. He is currently Founder and Artistic Director of The Wild Seven, an company dedicated to playwrights and their works as well as emphasizing the development of an ethnically and culturally diverse community of artists for the Minneapolis/ St. Paul and Chicago area.
Reginald on...
The Process
I used to write constantly everyday churning out a lot of pages, but now since I've been trying to get settled in Chicago, I've blocked out two days out of the week to solely writing. I mean I'll have a spurts where I'll write some dialog here or a monolog there at random moments like at a bar or on the CTA, but most of the time I've learned that I have to lock myself down, dedicate myself to a certain block of time and just write and write diligently.
Satisfaction
I'm not really a fan of the writing process. It's draining, it beats up on you emotionally and mentally... But what I love is the after effect once the piece has had the chance to be birthed. I like when the play has finally learned how to walk on its own and starts talking to an audience. I love watching an audience's reaction as the work moves around them and they experience it.
Knowing
I started as a spoken word artist, and hadn’t done theater until I went to college. I performed in the play Moliere’s Tartuffe and fell in love with it. Changed my major to Theatre Performance and became an actor. Unfortunately I found that in Houston there wasn’t that many roles for me to take on. So during my frustration a lady named Ms. Marie that ran this small community performance center called the Silver House Theatre encouraged me to try my hand at writing plays. That play was called “A Love Story”. This was an awful first attempt at writing plays. However, it sold out almost every night. Ms. Marie then asked me to write some more and I did. I fell in love with writing and started to realize that I was good at this and began pursuing it further. If it wasn’t for one woman taking a risk on me, I’d never have gotten started as a writer.
The First Time
I learned that you should trust your audience more as I've pushed forward in this career path. I learned to watch the audiences reaction, more often times then not, when you see that audience leaning forward you've hit theatrical gold, and you should do everything in your power to harness that moment to the fullest. But most importantly I learned from my first performance that you just need to enter every moment with an open heart.
Advice
I wish someone had told me that I need to write from my heart. For a long time I got stuck in "I have to write to appease some artistic director somewhere sitting in an ivory tower," when really all I needed was to write something that really held true in my heart and forget about being marketable. Write what I want to write and the rest will follow along. Also I wish someone would have told me to capture the audience's senses in every scene that I write. Theatre is a sensual experience and if you can pull them in via that, then the audience will go on the journey with you wherever you take them.
Reginald Presents...
BLACULA: YOUNG, BLACK, AND UNDEAD
When Franklin Park discovers that the love of his life is dating an ancient African vampire, no one believes him, so he enlists the help a strange vampire-slaying duo to help save the girl . . . and maybe even the world.
Inspired by the famous Blaxploitation Blacula, this play is a tragicomedy with funk music that explores sexual politics and the enduring love of man over a woman. Provocative and raucous, this is a theatrical event not to be missed.

Help fund the production of Blacula: Young, Black, and Undead at Kickstarter
For more information on Reginald's past, present, and future endeavors, check here.
Follow Reginald on TwitterReginald Edmund

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