My play DANCING ON EGGSHELLS at The Billie Holiday Theatre in residence at THE BROOKLYN MUSIC SCHOOL PLAYHOUSE.
An Interview with Cynthia G. Robinson
Indie Theater Now asked Cynthia G. Robinson a few questions about this upcoming event.
What’s this play about (in a few sentences); and what particular current issues are you addressing in it?
"Dancing on Eggshells" is a memory play, from the perspective of the main character, Grace. Grace is a dancer who struggles with the violent past of her family as she also comes to terms with a secret that threatens to destroy her. The play deals with the issue of domestic violence, but for me it's just as much a story of the power of love and forgiveness, even in the face of unimaginable circumstances.
Why is this issue/these issues important to you? Why should it be important to the audience?
We live in a world filled with much love and beauty, but we also live in a world where violence towards women and girls is glorified, sold, and at times, sexualized. Domestic violence is important to me as a woman living in this world and because I am the mother of two girls. I look forward to a day when women and girls are not vulnerable to the reality of violence and exploitation as they are today. If we are ever to get to that day, we have to look at ourselves, hold a mirror up to the harsh realities of our relationships. It's the first step towards healing. We are all human and domestic violence is a human rights issue.
Can a play actually bring about social change? How?
Plays don't bring about social change, people do. People must be moved to think about their world critically and have the desire to improve the circumstances in which we all live. If we don't do that, there is no change and there is no growth. But I believe that artists have the power to plant seeds of awareness in the minds and hearts of those who view their work. Live theater has the power to impact people in a uniquely profound way. There's something powerful about sitting in the dark with strangers and consuming a human story and being moved by it. If the audience is inspired enough, uplifted enough, shocked enough, saddened enough, angry enough, they will act in whatever way they can, big or small, doesn't matter. Action may come in many forms, but the point is, social change begins with awareness, and for those of us who have a creative platform, may we entertain, but also keep a sacred space for our work to inspire social change.
If you could get one real person (past or present) to be the spokesperson for your play, who would you choose and why; and what would you want them to tell people about your work?
Many years ago I went on a women's retreat Wonder Woman Weekend (sponsored by Inner Visions Institute). It was an awesome, transformative personal experience and it's where I first met the founder of Inner Visions Institute, Iyanla Vanzant (inspirational speaker, lawyer, author, life coach, and now, television personality). She's very powerful- an advocate for women, and teaches about the power of choices, specifically that we are all empowered to create and live the life we want, but we must be willing to face our flaws, face our missteps, face the ways we are complicit in our own misery, pain, and joy. I would want Ms. Vanzant to tell people that my work is a plea for peacefulness and healing through love and forgiveness…most of all, I'd like her to tell people that my work is courageous and stirring.
Which is more important to you in your playwriting, and why: to tell an authentic story, to make the audience laugh, to make the audience cry, or to make the audience think?
The most important thing to me is to tell authentic stories, stories that reflect the range of human experiences in a way that rings true and honest, without judgement and without fear. If that happens, the thinking part is inevitable.
posted March 14, 2015
Cynthia G. Robinson