Black Like Who?
by Craig Ester

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In a not so distant future where anyone can assume any identity, who gets to claim a heritage?




Craig Ester is a theatre artist from Detroit Michigan where he serves as co-founder and Artistic Director of Break the Chain Theatre Company. His recent works include The R and J Project with Matrix Theatre Company and Break the Chain Theatre, You Talk White and Dance With Me at Open Book Theatre, and Ernest, Michelle, and the Rainbow with Penny Seats Theatre. Craig would like to thank Concord Theatricals for the opportunity, and his family and friends for their support.



1. When did you start writing plays? If you had a moment where you realized you wanted to write, what was it?


I started writing plays when I was in high school, because I had a wonderful teacher names Marilyn McCormick who let me stage them. I was initially inspired by Lin Manuel Miranda, and Jonathan Larson’s stories. Both of these men taught me that writing wasn’t something that only special people did, it’s a craft that I don’t need anyone’s permission to practice.


2. How did you come to write your OOB play? Was there a particular inspiration behind its creation? How has it developed?


My play was originally written as a part of a 48 hour play festival hosted by Detroit Public Theatre and Harlem 9 titled “48 Hours in Detroit”. The play was inspired by the festival’s theme of Afro-futurism. The story was built on the idea of what it means to have a safe space as a person of color, and feeling the encroachment of gentrification and White people coming in and making changes to your community.


3. What are 5 words that describe who you are as a playwright?


Generous, angry, scatter brained, compassionate, isolated


4. What/who are some of the major influences on your writing?


I am constantly inspired by writers who tell the stories of their community, or other communities around the world with precision, heart, and honesty. These writers include Lynn Nottage, the aforementioned Lin Manuel Miranda and Jonathan Larson, and Stephen Adly Guirgis. Much of my work also comes from exploring my feeling about a subject by telling a story about it.


5. What’s one fact someone would never guess about you?


In addition to writing I also enjoy building gaming computers.


6. What are some of your favorite plays?


Ruined by Lynn Nottage
The Last Days of Judas Iscariot by Stephen Adly Guirgis
Sunday in The Park with George By Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine
Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
The Brother Sister Plays By Tarrell Alvin McCraney


7. Any new projects you’re working on or shameless plugs?


I’m currently working on a play titled “The Undiscovered Country” exploring my feelings about death, and what it means to earn a life.