Strength in vulnerability: An interview with Jarrett McCreary
Jarrett McCreary, named Young, Black & Talented in Philly Weekly this past June, is bringing his first full-length play, The Children of Edgar and Nina, to this year’s Fringe Festival in a collaboration with his longtime friend and artistic partner, Bridget Reynolds. As a playwright/director duo, they strive for theater that represents the world around them; black, queer, vulnerable, scary and emotionally satisfying. FringeArts recently spoke with McCreary about the origins and the process of creating The Children of Edgar and Nina.
FringeArts: What is your artistic partnership like with Bridget Reynolds?
JM: The Children of Edgar and Nina comes from Edgar Allen Poe and Nina Simone, two artists who used their very real and visceral pain to tell their stories and reach an audience. In the show, they are mentioned as inspiration for the characters, but they as people definitely showed vulnerability in their work that people weren’t always ready for. The three characters in my play discuss, deal with, are hurt by and grow through being vulnerable. And, like the people before them, they express that in whatever way they can.
FA: Are there any long term goals for The Children of Edgar and Nina?
JM: I definitely want this play to go places. I plan on submitting it to as many theater companies I can get my hands on when as soon as this is all over. I think for my first production of my first real play, I needed to do it. I wanted to hold on to my baby to make sure it grows up with the right things. But I want to let them go and hopefully be seen across the country. I think the story is as universal as it is individual.
FA: What of your personal experience is reflected in The Children of Edgar and Nina?
JM: I began writing COEAN (the short hand I use for all my production emails) while in college. I came from a pretty big family and through a lot of hardships, it ended up just being me, alone in college fending for myself. There weren’t many personal connections and it was very difficult to find anyone willing to make a connection with you. I realized how easy it is to put the blinders on and get from point A to point B without acknowledging the people around you. Many of us see any stranger on the street as a threat to our safety and security and it shouldn’t be that way. And that’s where the one character, Felix, begins his journey. He’s built up walls because life happened to need them. But the audience will get to see what happens when someone wants to break down your walls and are relentless. I hope people enjoy!
The Children of Edgar and Nina
William Way LGBT Community Center
1315 Spruce Street
Sept 9, 12-13, 15 at 7:30pm