Playwright Cris Eli Blak Proves That Persistence Can Overcome the Most Challenging Hurdles (REWIND)
For the past four weeks I’ve been in rehearsals for a new musical adaptation of Anne of Green Gables. During that time I even got Covid for the second time and had to miss several days of rehearsal while I was recovering. In fact, I wasn’t the only one who got Covid during the rehearsal process, so it’s been quite a journey for the creators and the cast as a whole and putting the show together. But we’ve now done all the blocking and scene work and are headed into tech rehearsals this week.
With that in mind I wanted to revisit a conversation from June 2020 with a playwright who is still just getting started in his own journey as a writer, an actor, a director and producer. Cris Eli Blak has remained one of my favorite guests and was someone who actually found me and requested to be a guest on the podcast. I’m so grateful for him reaching out and for the very personal, honest, and at times uncomfortable conversation we had. We talk about the writing process of bringing a show from the page to the stage as well as what it means to him to be a Black writer in theater today. He was only 21 when we sat down for this interview, but his insights and life experiences show maturity and wisdom far beyond his years.
Topics covered in this episode:
- Do The Right Thing 30 Years Later
- Spike Lee on HuffPost Live
- The Brother's Survivor short film
- The World Changes Through Art
- Our Duty to Confront Racism in Theater Industry
- "Like Father, Like Son" on the Logue Lounge
- All-White Production Of HAIRSPRAY In Texas Raises Eyebrows
- Should There Be All-White Productions of HAIRSPRAY?
"I want to give a shoutout to the people who push me, drive me, motivate me and hold me accountable. So, this goes out to my mother. This goes out to my grandfather. This goes out to my grandmother. This goes out to my sister. This goes out to my aunt. This goes out to everyone who came before me. This goes out to the late great August Wilson and Lorraine Hansberry who are on my personal Mt. Rushmore. And this is to everyone who wakes up and turns their dreams into goals and their goals into realities, for everyone who struggles and keeps going anyway."
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Cris Eli Blak Answers the Final Five
After our conversation, Cris answers the Final Five. He shares why he'd love to teach and his dream to be in CATS as well as what he learned from Tyler Perry.
A transcript of this interview can be found at the WINMI Blog and is available thanks to those who support this podcast.
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