Ahead of the 44 Plays for 44 Presidents event on Monday, October 29th, I had a chance to connect with Founding Artistic Director, Shannon Listol Wilson of Red Eye Gravy Theatre Company. Here's our conversation:
Jacqueline Lawton: How did your company form and how long have you been presenting work in D.C.?
Shannon Wilson: I formed Red Eye Gravy Theatre Company officially on November 25, 2011. I knew I wanted to merge my passion for social concerns with theatre. That Summer/Fall my first cause became clear. A dear friend of the DC Theatre Community, Guarav Gopalan was murdered. In addition, many young gay teens were committing suicide at that time because they were being bullied for who they loved. There was a need for action. I had to do something! I formed the company and brought together some incredibly talented DC artists to produce our first show, Romeo & Juliet, a Benefit for The Trevor Project. The show featured the title roles as a lesbian couple and all profits went to The Trevor Project.
JL: What impact do you hope to make in the D.C. theatre community?
SW: I hope to continue to raise awareness for The Trevor Project and other social concerns that are dear to me through theatre.
JL: Is political theatre important to you?
SW: Yes. Political theatre is important to us because it often has a direct correspondence to the social concerns we wish to support.
JL: Why did you decide to participate in 44 Plays for 44 Presidents?
SW: My dear friend and the director of our R & J, Ty Hallmark, contacted me about this exciting production for a good cause.
JL: Which president are you featuring? What’s his political affiliation and campaign slogan?
SW: Our president is Woodrow Wilson. He was a democrat and ran under the slogans, "New Freedom," "He kept us out of the war," and "Peace without Victory."
JL: What’s something interesting we should know about him?
SW: He started Daylight Savings to save fuel.
JL: Did he support the arts while in office? If so, how?
SW: He supported the Arts. In fact, there is a Post Doctoral Fellowship in Humanities in his name.
JL: If he was running for office this year, would you vote for him? Why or why not?
SW: I would vote for him because of his work for Women's Suffrage, Child Labor Laws, and peace.
JL: In addition to 44 Plays for 44 Presidents, what’s next for your company?
SW: We are currently accepting proposals for 2013. If interested, contact me at Redeyegravytheatrecompany@gmail.com
I'm a playwright, dramaturg, and teaching artist. It is here where you'll find my queries and musings on life, theater and the world. My posts advocate for diversity, inclusion, and equity in the American Theatre and updates on my own work. Please enjoy!