Explorations in Black Leadership

Co-Directed by Phyllis Leffler & Julian Bond

Playwright as Listener

BOND: Is it possible that other people, not black, not southern, not urban, could dump their stories into you?

HALL: Yes, definitely.

BOND: And you'd be receptive to that.

HALL: Would definitely be receptive. As a matter of fact, that's where I've moved—I'm moving in that direction, where I'm writing white characters, rich white characters, characters who lived in Africa, characters who are white but are South African, so are they African? You know, it's like a very—as an artist, you learn how to use the world as your clay. You learn how to just live your life and to be very observant of other people's lives. And I also was a journalist for a very, very long time and that experience of listening to people who are totally different from me and being respectful of their stories, cause that's what a journalist is. You're taking down—it's a story—you're getting the story, you're getting the news of the day, right? And I think that experience of always being in communities that I kind of -- like, stuck out, has really provided a foundation for me as a playwright so that I can take that ability to listen further and create stories that are not particularly specific to the southern African American experience. Cause once again, you don't want to be pigeonholed as that, just as you don't want to be pigeonholed as a black leader, you don't want to be necessarily pigeonholed as a black writer. Like if white playwrights can write black characters, why can't I write white characters? So I would say I'm definitely moving in that direction.

BOND: Well thank you for sharing your story with us. We appreciate it.

HALL: Thank you for having me.

BOND: Our pleasure.