by Robin Byrd
The Texas State Black and Latino Playwrights Conference is in its 12th year. Eugene Lee is the Artistic Director for the conference. Mr. Lee is an established actor, director and writer. I have admired his work as an actor for years. A fellow LA FPIer, Laura Shamas, told me about this conference and although my play did not get in that year, 2012, it was a finalist which warranted a call from Mr. Lee. To have someone actually get your story and be able to pick it apart and see things you didn’t know you wrote into the piece was wonderful.
I went to the conference this year because I was needing to be in the room with other artists at work. I really wanted to see the process. I am so thankful that I went. I learned a lot, made some friends and shook whatever that thing was that was on me keeping me from my computer. I am hoping this conference stays around for a very long time, its a great place to get things done.
One of the first things Eugene Lee said at the conference was that he had all male playwrights but it was not intentional. What I found very interesting was that all three of the plays were female-centered and very good vehicles for female actresses and the honored playwright’s play was directed by a woman. It was a very good vibe. I believe this conference can be great and am hoping that next year, more theater artists show up like I did just to see what they are doing…
The Black and Latino Playwrights Conference was established to fill a void where the voices of Black and Latino playwrights can be heard, nurtured and celebrated. The plays can be about whatever the playwright deems stage worthy; it’s the voice of that playwright this is most important to this conference. It’s a place where student artists can become familiar with the other voices that make up American Theater. In this vein, the most rewarding part of the conference is to hear those diverse voices, to see those playwrights at work at their craft, and to watch the students jump in fully committed to the scripts. Eugene Lee has a vision for the Black and Latino Playwrights Conference that can change the way minorities are viewed in Theater; his generous nurturing of the artists is greatly appreciated. And too, the generosity and foresight of Texas State University at San Marcos to seek out Mr. Lee to start such a conference is awesome. Thank you, Texas State! Thank you, Eugene Lee!
Every culture, in this multicultural place we call America, deserves a seat at the table. It’s places like San Marcos and this conference that can… that make room and give sustenance to playwrights kicking against the pricks….
Black and Latino Playwrights Conference