Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Blogoversary Celebration Day 9: Playwright Shawn Harris rejoins us to talk about her blog, theatre and Encanta!

We've sat down with Shawn Harris before last year to talk about her play "Encanta", a play with adventure, magic, oh, and did we mention Queer Latinas as leading ladies? We dont follow many blogs that highlight theater, and because that is one of the earliest forms of entertainment recognized by human beings, it seemed appropriate to add in the mix to our blog highlights. We sit down with Shawn again to talk about her blog "Love's Labors Lost."

1. We've had you on our blog once before, but since then, our small audience has slightly grown. Why don't you introduce yourself to the newbies!

I still don't know how to answer this question! I suppose I can say that I'm an eclectic and multifaceted entity held together by passion, daydreams, fantasies, and ideals. So this makes me do things like write plays and fanfic; do media analysis about film, tv, literature, and fandom; and stay up way too late. My body is currently housed in my hometown of Richmond, Virginia, but my spirit is on some train or bus in New York City.

2. Since we're talking about blogs, why don't you tell us more about "Love's Labors Lost?" How long has it been running? What prompted you to start it? Is it just you, and how often do you post?

The archives say that I started it in 2008. I mainly did it because everyone else had a blog, and I wanted a place to talk about theatre stuff with people who don't live exclusively in my head. It's just me, and I only post there when I feel like I have something I need to say about whatever is on my mind about theatre.

3. What topics do you like to tackle the most on your blog?

It's mostly my thoughts about theatre. I talk about a lot of different things, from my own creative process to things like gender and racial equity in off-off-Broadway theatre.

4. Do you have any goal for your blog? What do you hope people gain from reading your posts?

"Love's Labors Lost" is a personal thing, so I don't really sit down at my laptop and think about goals and objectives and strategies for it. There are just things I want and need to talk about, if only to get the thoughts out of my head. Hopefully, what that does is add a perspective that isn't always reflected in the theatrosphere, a perspective that is deeply political, sociological, and centered on Blackness, queerness, and womanhood, and one that comes from living in the intersections of all those identities.

5. What has been your most meaningful post to date?

Each post is meaningful for their own reasons. But one of the ones that's been very enlightening is the one about the survey I did about theatre attendance.

6. Since you're a playwright, let's talk about diversity in theater. From a playwright's perspective, do you think stage portrays diversity differently than television and movies?

Indie theatre has a lot more leeway than your average Hollywood movie or TV show, and casting people of color in prominent roles that are not clearly marked for Black people or for Asian people or for Latin@s is not met with the same incredulity that, say, Idris Elba as Heimdall or Quevenzhanae Wallis as Annie have gotten. 

That said, issues with racial diversity in casting are still very real. Most of the substantial roles on stage are written and cast by white people. But I do notice that, at least in the circles I run in, theatre is more honest about noticing that it's a problem if the diversity of NYC, LA, Chicago, or any other metropolis is not reflected on the stage. 

I think that has to do with the nature of theatre itself. Because it's live and because it draws its primary resources from within the community, it's more noticeable and more jarring when a community is not being reflected in the work.

7. We'd love to know what your favorite blogs out there are! Do you have any favorites in particular, and why? Who are your blog role models?

HowlRound is one place I consistently go to for the kind of in-depth conversations about theatre that I crave. My friend Gwydion Suilebhan also has a great blog that's really good at asking questions and sparking discussion. There are others, sure, but those two are the ones I most look forward to hearing from.

8. Last time we talked, you'd completed "Encanta" and had a few WIP's for Xroad's Theatre Projects. What can we expect from you in 2014?

I'm trying to work on a few short pieces this year. I want to have the first drafts of maybe 5 or 6 10-minute plays completed by the end of the year. It's a lot harder than it sounds.

9. Lastly, now that we've learned so much, where can we go to learn more?

You can find Love's Labors Lost here.

Crossroads Theatre Project can be found here on Facebook.

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  1. This was, once again, a delight! Thanks so much for having me. :D

  2. Oh yeah! Crossroads Theatre Project now has a website. Visit to check it out.

  3. Psst, I give you a shoutout on "Encanta's" new website:


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