Weekend Brunch: Let’s Chat About Playwrights Ike Holter & Marcus Gardley

This week has been epic! I am slowly, but surely, learning the Improv ropes whilst doing the Bob Curry Fellowship at Second City. Major Barbara rehearsals are going so well! Dove has contacted me y’all! Ahhhh!

dove response

I am waiting for them to respond back to my e-mail, but this is what they said back! Can you believe it?!?

So, I just wanted to take the time this weekend to give a shout out to the playwrights that have been altering my life as an artist in this last year. As most of you know, I am working on a new draft of Body/Courage so I have been trying to immerse myself with so many different forms of storytelling. These two men have inspired my journey as a playwright & performer, so let’s chat about them!


Marcus Gardley 

Ruby Washington/The New York Times
Ruby Washington/The New York Times

I just saw Gardley’s play, Issue of Blood, on Opening Night at Victory Gardens and it was earth shattering.

I have to thank Chay Yew for leading such a fearless theatre company. I am so proud to live in a town where the truth about black lives in America is confronted in such a powerfully artistic way. At the Opening Night party I got to meet Marcus Gardley! When I tell you it was like meeting Prince! I almost passed out y’all!  I was so nervous when I met him my hands were shaking.


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I have followed his journey and career for so many years. I was introduced to his works when I was performing at the Kennedy Center. The show was called “The Road Weeps, the Well Runs Dry.” I saw: “Black Odyssey” at New Black Fest in NYC, “Gospel of Lovingkindness” last year at Victory Gardens and so many other readings and shows.

It was such an exciting night at the theatre to be surrounded by so much diversity and creativity. I got to sit down and chat at length with the transfixing Lizan Mitchell. Her performance was epic! Mitchell and I know all of the same people from back home in NYC so talking to her gave me that home feeling, you know? She is brilliant and inspires me so much as a performer.

The show closes on May 3rd so run and go see it.  Marcus Gardley will be doing “House That Will Not Stand” next year at Victory Gardens. I am DYING to audition! I know there are absolutely no roles in the play for a young, plus size woman in her 20s, but who cares right?!?

If I can say one thing to Mr. Gardley: it would be to write a small role in a future show or scene that includes a curvy, comedian actress, with Jamaican heritage! Ha! But seriously, thank you so much for your work and I cannot wait to see what the future has in store for you.


DEAR IKE HOLTER,

Photo credit:Ross Feighery Photography
Photo credit:Ross Feighery Photography. 

I cannot even express what I want to say to you in a blog entry. I can only say it in an Open Letter.

You give me so much life! You are the only black man I know on roller blades. First Question: Do you teach roller blade lessons? When I tell you I have had a fear of all skates since I was 10, because my dad played me one day in the park and I ended up skating all the way into a fountain…

Chile when I tell you I lost my voice while watching Hit the Wall! Literally felt like I was back in NYC at Webster Hall. That show was so reminiscent of home for me. My first lessons in wearing heels was from a drag queen name Ms. Bonita in Alphabet City! I just wanted to say thank you for this play. Thank you! Whilst working at Actor’s Equity I remember seeing the flocks of people lined up and waiting to audition for this show. I knew something major was coming Off-Broadway!

Hit the Wall & Exit Strategy are shows I will brag about for years to come. Exit Strategy hit me in such an emotional way. The production was so viscerally moving and captivating from start to finish. That topic is rarely talked about in theatre and I was so hyped that you tackled it head on. Also, congratulations on all your recent accomplishments!

At the beginning of the New Year I make a list of Dreams that I hope will come true. Somewhere in between trying not to fall asleep whilst reading the King James Version of Genesis and dreaming of financial freedom (whatever the HELL that means)— #artistlife — your plays popped up on the list.

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I know Exit Strategy is going to Philadelphia Theatre Company & Primary Stages next year. Well, when the casting director is assigned to the project, I would love the opportunity to audition for the show. I lived in Philly for four years whilst at school at Temple University & was taken out of school to perform Off-Broadway with a documentary play called In Conflict. My family lives in Brooklyn, I am back and forth to the East Coast all the time. I just wanted to say thank you for your artistry and your talent. I cannot wait to see more of your work this year! All the best,  – D


If you missed on out on the showcase of Body/Courage in February take a look at the video when you both have a moment.

over 400 people have been interviewed for this show & I portray 12 of the interviews in this showcase version.

ALL TEXT IS VERBATIM FROM THE INTERVIEWS i have conducted.

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