As some of you may have already heard, “The MountainTop” is coming to Broadway this fall. The play, which is set in the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennesse, takes a look at the events of Dr.King’s life the night before he was assassinated. Now while most folks are buzzing over this play and cast members, Samuel Jackson (set to play Dr.King) & Halle Berry (set to play the Nurse that goes to King’s room), I am buzzing over playwright, Katori Hall.
I had the pleasure to meet Ms. hall when she came to the All Stars Project to team up with Youth Onstage. She is writing a new play which she is still developing, but she reached out to Youth Onstage to help her work on the script. Anthony Banks, associate director of the National Theatre–New Connections Program flew in from London to assist with this process. The play is set in Rwanda and looks at the impact of the 1994 genocide on today’s youth. The Children of Killers was commissioned by the National Theatre for its New Connections program that generates new plays for young performers by established playwrights.
On June 17th , they invited an audience in and performed Katori Hall’s “Children of Killers”. After the reading, there was a talk back with Ms.Hall, Mr.Banks and Artistic Director Dan Friedman. I discovered that Katori won the 2010 William Inge Theatre Festival’s Otis Guemsey New Voices in America Theatre Award and she is the 1st African-American playwright to receive the award. She was also the 1st African-American woman to win the Oliver Award for Best New Play (2010) *(August Wilson is the only other African-American to win)
As I explore writing my own first play, Katori is definitely someone to look up to as a young black woman pushing the boundaries of the world of theatre. I am very excited to continue to see where Katori Hall takes her writing. She is a true talent writing outside of the box and bringing to life the stories yet to be told.