Karimah (playwright) began writing her socially-conscious plays as a member of NEC’s Playwriting Unit in 1983. She is author of “Accept ‘Except’,” a series of plays about juvenile crime prevention based on the 13th Amendment. The play was written to be localized and there have been special versions done for Nashville, Philadelphia, North Carolina, Atlanta, Texas and Boston in addition to an LGBT version. Her other plays include “And the World Laughs With You” (1986, presented by National Black Theatre Festival and Crossroads Theatre, directed by Woodie King, Jr.), about a women incarcerated for murder in the Civil Rights Era; “Headache’s Gone,” about mental health and “Gay for the Stay,” about a transgender prison inmate’s experience with conversion therapy. Karimah started writing as an undergraduate student at University of D.C. and her first play was produced while she was getting her MFA at Columbia, in 1986.
She began “Imminently Yours” in a female writers’ workshop led by Elizabeth Van Dyke in 2017. It was inspired by a variety of sources, including family stories of friends, talk of eminent domain for federal seizure of land at the Mexican border, and the long-running appropriation of properties in Harlem. Upon finishing the play in 2017, Karimah was astonished to read of events in Virginia that paralleled the story of her play. In Prince William County, VA , there have been community efforts to save a historic African American neighborhood in Haymarket that is made up primarily of elderly residents. At issue is an Amazon data center that requires installation of power lines through their properties. Essentially, Amazon would be forcing Black elderly residents off land that had been owned by freed slaves and passed down through generations of their descendants (https://tinyurl.com/y3jx8ehk).
Karimah’s subjects are always heavy but the plays are light and ultimately optimistic in tone. She reflects, “There is a lesson in everything: just as there is dark, there is always light on the other side.” In this play, the elderly residents ultimately accept they will lose their land, so their goal shifts from resistance to education: they will ennoble themselves by helping other people prepare for this challenge in the future. The play is at once a family drama, a comedy and a tragedy.
|Playwright||Accept “Except” LGBT NY||2014-15 Season|
|Asst. Stage Manager||Sowa’s Red Gravy||2012-13 Season|