Runaway Girl
by Mo Holmes

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Despite her best efforts to get gone from the Alabama bayou, Euretta, an enslaved runaway, must face off the Devil, her blood kin, displacement and apocalypse, pitting her desire for total independence against her obligations to land and family. An Aesopic Black freedom fantasy.




Mo Holmes is a black queer Southern playwright and dramaturg, born in San Antonio and raised on the long stretch from Texas to Alabama. She is an Atlanta Opera 96-Hour Opera Project commissioned finalist and an O’Neill National Playwrights Conference semi-finalist. Her other work has been developed at Vertigo Theatre, the Playwrights Center, Minnesota Opera, Everwood Farmstead Retreat and Center for Performing Arts. As a dramaturg, she has supported new work development with Good Apples Collective, the Guthrie Theater, the Jungle Theatre, the History Theatre and Columbia School of the Arts. Current MFA candidate: Playwriting, Columbia.




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

I was always creative and loved making up stories (lying) as a kid. But after my great-grandmother died, I felt a connection to her in a dream that I felt compelled to write down. It may have been divine or it may have been my body knowing how to process her loss. Either way, I still come to writing like that, from a late-night, intuitive, spiritual place. And to process difficult things. I mostly wrote short stories and poems until I moved away from home for college. The late Barbara Field was my first playwriting teacher. I quickly and firmly knew this was my form. We all did. It just made sense to everyone.


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

I wrote from a prompt about picking an “impossible” element – so I picked characters who were animals. But it didn’t prove all that impossible–I love Aesop, I love Albee’s Seascape. Travelogue novels like Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, Juster’s The Phantom Tollbooth and Fran Ross’ Oreo also inspire me. Plus, I grew up Baptist; it’s just a given that the Lord appears as a talking bush.

I was thinking about my take on a “slave play.” Once I had crafted Euretta, I realized it was about freedom and safety and responsibility to homeland and climate grief. So it’s actually more of a fable about being Black and Southern. And my modern relationship to black geography, black displacement in this era, which looks eerily similar to my sharecropping ancestors. I think I would like to develop it further into a fully realized travelogue. I wanna let Euretta leave the bayou.


What are five words that describe who you are as a playwright?

Black! Queer! Southern! Rabbinical! Anxious!


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

I would say the playwrights I most often turn to are Georgia Douglas Johnson, Zora Neale Hurston, Edward Albee, Sam Shepard, Suzan-Lori Parks, Lynn Nottage and Will Arbery. I constantly record and listen to my family, especially my grandmothers; I love their patter. Religious texts. Other writers: Gwendolyn Brooks, Audre Lorde, Sylvia Plath, Warsan Shire, Anne Sexton and Alice Munro, many who deeply and sincerely saved my life and now I emulate.


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

I love opera! I’m not well-studied but it makes me weep!


What are some of your favorite plays?

I am always turning to these: Safe by Georgia Douglas Johnson, Colorstruck by Zora Neale Hurston, Seascape by Edward Albee, Buried Child by Sam Shepard, everything by Suzan-Lori Parks (and her essay An Equation for Black People on Stage), Fabulation and Mlima’s Tale by Lynn Nottage, Heroes of the Fourth Turning by Will Arbery, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone by August Wilson.

I do like new things! If I could add them to my library, I’d also be re-reading Wet Brain by John J. Caswell, Jr., one in two by Donja R. Love, and seven methods of killing kylie jenner by Jasmine Lee-Jones.


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

In June, I’ll participate in the Atlanta Opera’s 96-Hour Opera Project and have a reading of my play Amanda with Vertigo Theatre.

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