Wookiees in the WIlderness
Bishop and Smokey are best pals. Smokey will do anything for Bishop, who is in the midst of recovering from a recent trauma. Bishop will do anything for Smokey including going out to the mountainside wilderness of the Lake of the Ozarks to prep him for his upcoming Wilderness Survival test for the Eagle Scouts. But as the sun down begins and night falls upon them, the boys are reminded to truly be prepared for anything. Wookiees in the Wilderness is a buddy drama about race, class, wasted potential and justice in Trump’s America.
MARCUS SCOTT is a dramatist & journalist. His full-length work includes “Tumbleweed” (finalist for the 2017 Bay Area Playwrights Festival; semifinalist for the 2022 Eugene O’Neill Theater Center National Playwrights Conference, the 2022 Blue Ink Playwriting Award and the 2017 New Dramatists Princess Grace Fellowship Award), “Sibling Rivalries” (finalist for the 2021 Seven Devils Playwrights Conference; semi-finalist for the 2022 Lanford Wilson New American Play Festival, the 2021 Blue Ink Playwriting Award and the 2021 New Dramatists Princess Grace Fellowship Award) and “Cherry Bomb” (recipient of the 2017 Drama League First Stage Artist-In-Residence). He was commissioned by Heartbeat Opera to adapt Beethoven’s “Fidelio” (Librettist/Co-writer; The Met Museum; NYT Critic’s Pick). Recently developed at Gingold Theatrical Group (Speaker’s Corner), Zoetic Stage (Finstrom Festival Of New Work) and Queens Theatre (New American Voices series). Scott is a 2021 NYSAF Founders’ Award finalist and a 2021 Doric Wilson Independent Playwright Award semi-finalist. His articles appeared in Architectural Digest, Time Out New York, American Theatre Magazine, Playbill, Elle, Out, Essence, The Brooklyn Rail, among others. MFA: GMTWP, NYU Tisch.
A BIT ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHT
1. When did you start writing plays? If you had a moment where you realized you wanted to write, what was it?
I fell into playwriting. Originally I was a poet and songwriter, performing slam poetry and singing lyrics I wrote for various garage bands. Then I a took a playwriting class in undergrad, where I occasionally incorporated lyrics into my works. This caught the eye of my professor whom persuaded me to apply to NYU’s Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program to learn the craft of writing and creating dramatic works through song. After graduating, I learned that musicals took a long time to develop and so I started writing one-act plays as a way to develop as a writer and eventually began to pen full length works.
2. How did you come to write your OOB play? Was there a particular inspiration behind its creation? How has it developed?
After the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, I started having nightmares which were in turn fueled by the racial tensions brought on by the far-right; I felt that my safety was at risk. As a coping mechanism, I wrote a trilogy of “rage plays,” with “Wookiees in the Wilderness” being the third and final play. It will premiere at The Fire This Time Festival in July 2022.
3. What are 5 words that describe who you are as a playwright?
Hilarious, tender, thought-provoking, transgressive and sprawling.
4. What/who are some of the major influences on your writing?
Lynn Nottage, Branden Jacobs Jenkins, Stew, George Clinton, Sun Ra, David Bowie, Joe Orton, artists of the Black Arts Movement, James Baldwin, Richard Bruce Nugent and the Harlem Renaissance artists, Archibald Motley and the Chicago Black Renaissance, Tennessee Williams, Stephen King, J.R.R. Tolkien, Stan Lee, Alan Moore, Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson, Prince, Grace Jones, Madonna, Lady Gaga, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, The Talking Heads, Blondie, Nirvana, Bad Brains, The Clash, Jimi Hendrix Miles Davis, and the music of Motown.
5. What’s one fact someone would never guess about you?
I’ve been to Israel twice.
6. What are some of your favorite plays?
Plays: “The Pillowman” by Martin McDonagh, “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” by Edward Albee, “Fences” by August Wilson, “Angels in America” by Tony Kushner, “A Soldier’s Play” by Charles Fuller, “Indecent” by Paula Vogel, “for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf” by Ntozake Shange, “A Streetcar Named Desire” by Tennessee Williams, “Death of a Salesman” by Arthur Miller, “Posh” by Laura Wade, “Master Harold”…and the boys” by Athol Fugard, “Six Degrees of Separation by John Guare, “Bootycandy” by Robert O’Hara, “An Octoroon” by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, “The Hurt Village” by Katori Hall, “Closer” by Patrick Marber, “August: Osage County” by Tracy Letts, “Punk Rock” by Simon Stephens, “Intimate Apparel” by Lynn Nottage, among others.
Musicals: “Little Shop of Horrors” (music by Alan Menken, lyrics and book by Howard Ashman) “Dreamgirls” (music by Henry Krieger and lyrics, book by Tom Eyen), “Passing Strange” (lyrics and book by Stew, music and orchestrations by Heidi Rodewald and Stew), “Cabaret” (music by John Kander, lyrics by Fred Ebb, book by Joe Masteroff), “Chicago” (music by John Kander, lyrics by Fred Ebb, book by Ebb and Bob Fosse), “The Scottsboro Boys” (book by David Thompson, music by John Kander, lyrics by Fred Ebb), Rent (music, lyrics, book by Jonathan Larson), “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, book by Hugh Wheeler), “Into The Woods” (music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, book by James Lapine), “Assassins” (music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, book by John Weidman) and “Hedwig & The Angry Inch” (music and lyrics by Stephen Trask, book by John Cameron Mitchell)
7. Any new projects you’re working on or shameless plugs?
At the moment, I am currently developing “There Goes The Neighborhood,” a Juneteenth-themed satirical slow-burn horror comedy slasher as a Speakers’ Corner writer with Gingold Theatrical Group. I am also writing and developing “Bizarro World,” an cyberpunk office comedy techno thriller as part of a playwriting residency with The Road Theatre Company’s Under Construction 3 Playwrights Group. In addition, I am currently writing and developing “Joy Comes in the Morning,” a coming-of-age sports drama about a gaggle girl grapplers duking it out for a championship belt, and “South of Houston,” a rom-com musical following the black elite in NYC’s lounge scene.