- Posted February 3, 2014 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Tell us the Good Stuff!
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Garrett Davis: A Playwright who is creating theatrical "Projects" With a Purpose!!!!
While attending a Playwright's Ball in Charlotte, NC last year, I was blessed to attend a workshop for playwrights facilitated by this man. He told us the do’s and don’ts of this industry, the importance of the theater, getting investors, casting the “Right” people, but most importantly, he shared with us the concept of creating “Projects” instead of just premiering “Plays”! “Anyone can write a play, but everyone can not create a play with a message”, he said. So I took his advice and revamped my stage play, “Living Your Life”, and now I am blessed to say that my “Project about Domestic Violence” is currently on tour with a show coming up in Greensboro, NC and then Los Angeles, CA.
Mr. Garrett Davis’s formula of theater has made him a household name with his hit stage plays, “Mama’s Girls”. He has been writing plays since 1994 and every year each play; each project grows and develops into a national campaign against things that affect everyday people. After losing his Grandmother to Alzheimer’s disease, he created the stage play project “Forget Me Not” project. With this project and many others, Mr. Davis advocacy and awareness for Caregiving and Alzheimer’s has opened up many doors and partnerships with AARP and the African American Network that his “project with a message” will now be able to reach more families and save many more lives.
Last week, I was able to speak with Mr. Davis while he was in the airport in San Francisco waiting to fly back to the East Coast, and it was a true blessing, he even offered to help me through my journey!!! Enjoy this educational lesson and interview with Mr. Garrett Davis.
Tell us about your hit stage play “Mama’s Girls” and how your partnership with AARP has helped expand your vision for this project.
Mama's Girls is a stageplay where five sisters (Ruthie May, Paulette, Sonya, Bre, and Ke-Ke) come together to face the reality of their mother's declining health. This play shows the importance of caregiving and how it’s takes a village to take care of a person that is battling with a life-threatening illness. This stage play is part of “Project Prepare to Care”, a collaborative effort by Gdavis Productions and AARP that seeks to raise the awareness of caregiving. With the assistance of AARP, Mr. Davis is able to bring this stage play to numerous cities, including, Detroit, Michigan, New York, Philadelphia, Richmond, Virginia, Charlotte, NC and Dallas Texas, just to name a few. (see the website for complete tour dates).
In addition to AARP giving resources to fund a national tour, they have also provided helpful information and facilitated workshops and seminars before the production in order to educate play attendees on caregiving services, Alzheimer’s resources, and the importance of taking care of the caregiver, because they get tired too. This collective effort has put Caregiving in the forefront of people minds, and gives them the knowledge to help those who help the elderly.
Now I see you are also the Ambassador of National Alzheimer’s Association, tell us about that.
“Being the Ambassador for the National Alzheimer’ Association has given me the platform and ability to further educate and spread the importance of caregiving,” he said. This position has also made him take a more vested interest in learning and understanding the laws that affect the quality of life for those caring for and who have Alzheimer’s disease. Mr. Davis is also one of the founders of the African American Network Against Alzheimer’s disease whose Honorary Co-Chairs are Dr. Satcher, Rev. Al Sharpton and former Administration officials The Honorable Kay Coles James and Melody Barnes, formerly of the Obama Administration.
The National Alzheimer’s Association in 2012 also named Mr. Davis “Advocate of the Year”. As you can see, his love and desire for using the stage as a platform for teaching and not just laughing is serious. “It is okay to be entertained, but to be educated and entertained is more rewarding,” he says.
So, Mama’s Girls is a play about the importance of Caregiving, do you have any plays about Alzheimer’s.
“Forget Me Not” is the piece that was inspired by the loss of his grandmother Goodness who lost her life to Alzheimer’s disease. This piece was originally written to bring personal closure in his life for not being there while other family members took care of her during her final days.” This play shows just how far reaching a disease like Alzheimer’s can affect not just the immediate family, but friends and the community. He said, “Alzheimer’s has always been in the community but now we are aware of the reality of it, medically and mentally. So we can not sweep this under the rug anymore, we really have to take care of the caregiver because they are helping the aging.
The Forget Me Not Project works closely with the African American Network Against Alzheimer’s Disease and are now making plans for a 2014 Tour that will include stops in Memphis, Huntsville, Raleigh, Durham, Houston, Winston Salem, Atlanta, Washington, DC, to name a few.
Now I hear you are expanding the Mama’s Girls brand, tell us what’s next for these 5 sisters.
Mama’s Girls brand is truly expanding. The Detroit performances starts the 3rd consecutive touring year for Mama's Girls sponsored in part by AARP & Gdavis Productions.
He has connected with Screenwriter, Author and CNN iReporter Krystol Diggs to pen the book “Mama’s Girls” which is scheduled to be released Spring 2014. He says, “The play only gives people 2 hours to see their life on stage; however, with the book I am able to share more details. The book will give people the ability to see themselves and further get support, to see they are not alone.”
“I am also looking to do a web series and/or television show. Preston Ross, Jr. Melvin Aikens, Jr. and Angelicia Hicks who have joined forces with GDavis productions to pen the Mama’s Girls theme song,” he shared. In addition, Detroit, Michigan will be the city Mama's Girls invade for their live DVD Taping for FREE at the Charles H. Wright African American Museum on Saturday February 8, 2014. Three performances are scheduled with the first starting at 11am, 2pm pm followed by a reception and meet and greet before the third performance at 7:00pm
In addition to Mama’s Girls, “Forget Me Not” will kick off the Washington D.C. Theater Festival, in association with the African American Network coming to Washington D.C June 20th through the 29th. (Visit http://www.dcblacktheatrefestival.com/ for dates and tickets)
What advice would you give to an aspiring playwright who wants to make it in this business?
Write Meaningful productions!!!! Before you write, answer this question, “What does your production mean?” If it does not mean anything to you, then what is the purpose of you writing it? Your play needs and must have an impact on someone’s life, something to stick with them way after leaving the theater.
You can learn more about his productions at: