You know those playwrights who create their own rules? And then we want to be just like them but don't know how because we're not sure what the hell their rules are? Do you know who I'm talking about? Mamet? Brecht? Ibsen?
Let's add Chisa Hutchinson to the list. Hutchinson defies ordinary theatrical planes in order to convey urban hostilities through engaging narratives. On top of her stellar story-telling, she goes above and beyond to manufacture new ways of creating theatre: A made up language (Konsah Yevah); a puppet musical (The Forgetting Place); ironic homophobic and racist epithets (She Like Girls, This is not the Play); very large casts.
We learned about Hutchinson today while reading about the opening of her show This is Not The Play at The Cleveland Public Theatre. (Check out the article.) There aren't a lot of plays about race that don't revolve solely around a conflict between two separate racial parties. Hutchinson's show seems to defy expectations by writing characters who experience dilemmas about race from within themselves. By writing about characters fighting their own prejudices, Hutchinson reminds us that racial conflicts don't evaporate at the end of a racial conflict. Her innovative approach to a timeless topic reminds us of its everlasting relevance.
Check out Hutchinson's website to learn more about her.