Meet How to Catch Creation Playwright Christina Anderson
Born and raised in Kansas City, Kansas, Creation playwright Christina Anderson has had her works produced at places like The Public Theater, Yale Repertory Theatre, and Playwrights Horizons and has won honors like the Lorraine Hansberry Award and the Harper Lee Award. Learn more about Christina and her path to Creation in her own words:
What is your artistic origin story?
My introduction to playwriting came along my freshman year of high school. There was a teaching artist at this intensive who taught the fundamentals of playwriting and it really blew my mind that I could have access to that kind of art making. Because I knew of playwrights—I knew of Shakespeare—but I just assumed that they were all dead. It never clicked to me that there were living people writing these plays and that I could have the access and the power to write for the stage. And then with the immediacy of having actors embody the work...I just got bit by the bug. I fell in love with it and it hasn’t let me go, since I was 15.
Do you find that there are themes that run through your work?
My mission is to always delve into the questions. I think that delving into the questions keeps me open as an artist. I try not to go into a new project with too many answers. I think that if I can surprise myself, hopefully the audience will also be surprised. And I’m always interested in Black American stories and how those stories are really American stories. Right now, I’m really interested in how we’re in conversation with history whether we accept it or not. I’m really interested in those kinds of Black folks that we don’t see a lot of on the stage. So that’s my mission too— really exploring the breadth of Blackness as a culture.
What inspired How to Catch Creation?
Writing this play, I was inspired by a lot of Black queer women literature—things like Ann Allen Shockley’s Loving Her, which was the first story told from a Black lesbian perspective. I also wrote this play at a time when I was really questioning my legacy as a writer—am I writing these plays in vain in a vacuum? Where is my work gonna be when I’m 80 years old? And so I was thinking about all of these Black women writers whose work has disappeared. I actually think that Black Twitter has changed that; since Black Twitter has been celebrating them, there have actually started to be new publishings of these lost women writers. But I wanted to consider how we celebrate and get inspired by Black women artists.
I was also inspired by my time living in San Francisco. I met a lot of really wonderful Black men in the Bay who identified as feminists and Afrofuturists. And I knew Alice Walker used to live there so I got really interested in this West Coast Black Woman Queerness. I ended up being pleasantly surprised with how this play shows these empowered Black women across the spectrum in terms of how they live or how they love, living in the truth of their sexuality and not being questioned about it or feeling like they have to explain it. And that was all inspired from reading queer men like Essex Hemphill and Pomo Afro Homo, and especially queer women like Cheryl Clarke and Jewelle Gomez and others.