Live from USA, with the Public Theater
20 May, 7pm-9pm GMT
WATCH ME WORK is a performance art piece, a meditation on the artistic process, an actual work session and a writing class, featuring Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks. Following an informal work session livestreamed to the Writeaplay website where both teacher and participating playwrights write together, Suzan-Lori will take questions from the writing group and twitter about their own plays and their own work. Suzan-Lori is teaming up with The Public Theater of New York’s Emerging Writers Group, where she will help them explore the universes of their plays, get into some vibrant conversations, and help each writer deepen the ways their work respond to the world around us.
Suzan-Lori Parks is one of the most acclaimed playwrights in American drama today. She is the first African-American woman to receive the Pulitzer Prize in Drama, is a MacArthur “Genius” Award recipient, and in 2015 was awarded the prestigious Gish Prize for Excellence in the Arts. Other grants and awards include those from the National Endowment for the Arts, Rockefeller Foundation, Ford Foundation, New York State Council on the Arts and New York Foundation for the Arts. She is also a recipient of a Lila-Wallace Reader’s Digest Award, a CalArts/Alpert Award in the Arts, and a Guggenheim Foundation Grant.
Parks’ project 365 Days/365 Plays (where she wrote a play a day for an entire year) was produced in over 700 theatres worldwide, creating one of the largest grassroots collaborations in theatre history. Her other plays include Topdog/Underdog (2002 Pulitzer Prize winner); The Book of Grace; Unchain My Heart: The Ray Charles Musical; In the Blood (2000 Pulitzer Prize finalist); Venus (1996 OBIE Award); The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World; Imperceptible Mutabilities in the Third Kingdom (1990 OBIE Award, Best New American Play); The America Play and Fucking A. Her adaptation of Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess won the 2012 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical. Her newest plays, Father Comes Home from the Wars (Parts 1, 2 & 3)—set during the Civil War—was awarded the Horton Foote Prize, the Edward M. Kennedy Prize for Drama as well as being a 2015 Pulitzer Prize Finalist.
Parks has written numerous screenplays including Girl 6 for Spike Lee, and she adapted Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God for ABC Television’s Oprah Winfrey Presents. Other work in film includes Anemone Me. She is currently developing an original series for Amazon. Parks’ first novel, Getting Mother’s Body (Random House, 2003), is a novel with songs and is set in the West Texas of her youth.
Parks is currently performing Watch Me Work, a free, weekly, live-streamed, writing workshop, open to artists of all disciplines. Her plays are published by Theatre Communications Group (TCG), Samuel French and Dramatists Play Service. She is also at work on a stage-musical adaptation of the film The Harder They Come, and a new musical project in collaboration with Timbaland and Harmony Samuels. Parks is the Residency One playwright at The Signature Theatre for their 2016-2017 season and her band, Sula & The Noise, will also be in residence.
Suzan-Lori teaches at New York University, and serves at the Public Theater as its Master Writer Chair.