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Monique D. Shaw
Here's your chance to get to know more about Monique! Find out who she really is!
Q. For some, it was their first experience at a live production. For others, it was the thought of someday seeing their words come alive on stage. What made you decide to become a playwright?
A. I love theatre and have for quite some time. I’m a very creative person. After every play I went to over the years I kept thinking, wow, I can do that. I remember being at work one day with nothing to do, so I started writing the script. I came up with a plot that I thought others could relate to, created the characters, and just kept writing. Before I knew it, the first draft of the script was complete in about six weeks.
Q. Will a Real Man Please Stand is your first production. Are you excited?
A. I am VERY excited to see this play finally come to fruition. It has been a long time coming and I can’t wait to see the vision I have in my head being played out on stage. I’ve learned so much in this last year of preparation. I had two readings, one in December 2007 and one in June 2008, and now we’re ready to bring it to the stage. I know it’s going to be a lot of work, but I have a great team helping me to make sure it is a success.
Q. How did you derive at this story and its characters?
A. Like many stories and plays, Will A Real Man Please Stand is based in part on my life experiences, mixed with trials of friends and family, combined with old fashioned creative thinking. I know a lot of women who are waiting on their man of God, so the storyline was easy to craft. The characters were easy too; I simply looked all around me for inspiration. For example, Grace and Mimi are very similar to my grandmother. She had the wisdom and loving spirit of Grace and the fire and sass of Mimi. I know many women like Rachel, who carry the weight of the world on their shoulders because their husband isn’t doing his share. The other characters are a composite of the people we all know in our families, at work and at church.
Q. What character do you identify with most and why?
A. If I had to pick one, it would be Tatiana. She is a smart, successful woman. She’s kind-hearted, caring and seems to have it all, except for one thing; she can’t find a man of God. As a single, Christian woman, I know how hard it can be trying to be patient and wait for your mate. Like Tatiana, I had to wait on the Lord to send me a real man!
Q. Many avid playgoers say the greatest aspect of witnessing a live production is not merely entertainment; rather, it is a remarkable story that uplifts, makes you think or speaks so intimately to you that you keep coming back for more. What will audience members take away from their experience with Will a Real Man Please Stand?
A. I think audience members will be able to identify with at least one, if not most, of the characters. I also hope they will be inspired by the messages embedded in the story. I think the audience will leave uplifted by the Pastor’s sermons and inspired by Tatiana quest of true love. It’s a story of perseverance and faith.
Q. What was the last play you saw?
A. I try to see as many plays as I can, but I’ll tell simply mention the last “great” play I saw because some of the others weren’t so great (laughs). It was Gee’s Bend. I saw it at the Balzer Theatre in downtown Atlanta. I enjoyed it tremendously.
Q. Now that you've gotten your feet wet with auditions, rehearsals and the myriad parts and pieces that go into producing a play, what major challenges have you faced?
A. Trying to find financing or someone else to produce your play is the most difficult feat. So for this first production, I will be producing it myself and using my creativity and resources to finance the production. I’ve become a pretty savvy businesswoman and have been able to barter with local businesses to assist with some of the production expenses. I also have a good support system of family and friends who believe in me and what I am seeking to accomplish.
Q. From August Wilson and Lorraine Hansberry to the great regional and local writers of today, there have been many African-American playwrights throughout the decades. Who do you admire most?
A. I am so inspired by Tyler Perry. I think he’s an original – a true pioneer of our generation. Not only has he mastered theatre, but film and television as well. What an inspiration.
Q. You've been inspired by those who came before you to create the wonderful drama that will soon grace an Atlanta stage. What advice do you have for aspiring playwrights who have yet to have their works produced or even craft their first play?
A. Don’t give up would be my first word of advice. It can be a long and tedious process. You should also find a mentor. That’s one thing I didn’t have, so I had to kind of figure things out on my own. And finally, get out and see as many plays as you can.