Writer Marcus Scott, who leads a new generation of young writers, is set to unveil his new short play “Blood Orange” as part of the Downtown Urban Arts Festival. “Blood Orange” explores the fetishization of black male bodies, hookup culture, the nature of interracial gay relationships and sexual encounters, power play and upward mobility. His daring and provocative work has already garnered accolades across the country, including the Playwrights Foundation Bay Area Playwrights Festival and Drama League.
Tell us about your new play Blood Orange.
“Blood Orange” follows Dorian, an 18-year-old African-American high school senior, who confronts and tries to make amends with Vladimir, a childhood friend and former lover, before he goes off to college. Only Vladimir, still in love with Dorian, has plans of his own to get him back, though his method may be a lot more nefarious than it appears. “Blood Orange” is a power play that explores modern day hookup culture, interracial relationships, microaggressions and casual racism, privilege and upward mobility.
What is your inspiration to write plays like “Blood Orange”?
“Blood Orange” was originally written as a prologue of sorts to a full-length play I’m developing called “Sibling Rivalries.” It was initially written to introduce the protagonist and to get into his mindset, but I also wanted to explore the fetishization of the black male anatomy, a recurring theme in the aforementioned full-length psychodrama. But what inspires me want to write plays with queer characters of color, especially black characters, is the dearth of diverse queer POC stories onstage and off. Most LGBTQIA stories that get produced are cast with mostly ethnically non-diverse white actors while the stories are often centered on non-diverse white gay men. From coming-of-age stories to bits of historical accounts, white gay men are the epicenter of most queer stories. If people of color are featured, they have to be these paragons of masculinity with accidental six-pack abs, a contract with Wilhelmina and acting prowess that equals the biggest stars on Broadway or Hollywood. Why can’t we have a story about a socially awkward black gay boy experiencing a sexual awakening, or a comedy about 20-something East Asian man who has become the romantic love interest of two men, or a Pakistani teenager flirting with androgyny, or a Latin boy falling in love in the favelas?
What are you working on now?
I am developing the script for a reimagining of Beethoven’s “Fidelio” with Ethan Heard for Heartbeat Opera, which will premiere at Baruch Performing Arts Center in May 2018. I also wrote a short play about alt-right mass shooters, which will be read in front of a live audience at Symphony Space for Athena Theatre’s Falling Forward: An Evening of Ten-Minute Plays around the same time. When I am preparing for those, I am writing three full-length projects: “Sibling Rivalries,” a play about a black fraternity on an Ivy League campus; “Return to Cookie Mountain,” a play with music about two codependent black hipsters who start a rock band; and “Stranger Danger,” a musical about a little known real-life crime that affected black America.
Wednesday, April 25
Blood Orange by Marcus Scott
Theatre 80 St. Marks
80 St. Marks Place,
East Village, NYC