Are you surprised that the story on This American Life resonated with so many people?
I am. I honestly thought that, at best, the story would just be an entertaining anecdote about a really crazy period in my life. So I’m definitely surprised that folks have been responding to it in such a powerful way. I’m especially grateful to This American Life for helping me turn this into a piece that was able to reach such a wide audience.
How did you start writing?
As a kid, I wrote comic books and short stories for fun, but I didn’t take up writing as a profession until my junior year at NYU. I was a drama major looking for a play to do with my friends, and, at the time, I didn’t feel there was a whole lot of contemporary material out there for African-American actors of my generation. That’s how I ended up writing my first play Prime Time.
What inspires you to write (plays)?
Lately my plays have centered on characters struggling with either political or existential crises. I’m also really interested in exploring paradoxes – especially how opposing groups and ideas actually rely on each other for self-definition.
Are you working on any plays now?
Yes! On February 21st the IAMA Theatre Company in Los Angeles is hosting a reading of my newest play Unbound. It takes place in the wake of the police raid on Occupy Los Angeles, and it follows two activists that try to take down the G.O.P.’s presidential frontrunner by creating a scandalous viral video. If you’re in the area and are interested in checking it out, visit my website at www.daryl-watson.com for details.
Just for fun, were you involved with theater in high school?
I was the Scarecrow in my high school’s production of The Wizard of Oz. Our closing night show was the most memorable. At the end, when Dorothy was saying goodbye to everyone before returning to Kansas, I hugged her, dipped her, and kissed her on the mouth (after getting her permission first, of course). The audience went nuts. After that, I was hooked on theater for life.
— Daryl Watson
Daryl Watson is the author of Prime Time (Stella Adler Studios, Abingdon Theater and Lincoln Center Theater as part of the Audrey Skirball-Kenis Playwrights Program), Snap (Judges Panel Award and Audience Award Winner of the 2005 Battle of the Bards in New York City), The Blueberry Hill Accord, Idle Gods (Access Theater) and Enemies of the Peace (Stella Adler Studios). He was also a co-creator and writer for the Disney television series Johnny and the Sprites. Mr. Watson graduated with honors from New York University in 2002 with a B.F.A. in Drama and a second major in English and American Literature.