Listen to this week’s “Stagecraft” podcast below:
Which means there’s real power just to see them represented. “Because there aren’t a ton of images of black gay people period, whether it’s film or TV [or onstage]. … It’s almost like a quiet revolution to just see these men gather and be their beautiful, loud selves,” Hall said on the latest episode of “Stagecraft,” Variety‘s theater podcast.
|The cast of ‘The Hot Wing King’
Courtesy of Diane Zhao
Inspired in part by Hall’s brother and his relationship with his partner, “Hot Wing King” revolves around the preparations for an annual hot wing competition in Memphis, and the wrench that’s thrown into the works when one of the protagonist’s nephews shows up unexpectedly. Hall said the most important thing, for her, was “that it not really be about them being gay,” she said. “That it be about them being human; that it be about them loving each other; that it be about them supporting each other. I think coming out stories are cool — I love them and I think we should keep having them — but I kind of wanted to shift the expectation of a story about black gay men.”
In addition to “Hot Wing King,” now having its world premiere at Off Broadway’s Signature Theatre, Hall also wrote the book to the Tina Turner bio-musical, “Tina,” currently on Broadway. On “Stagecraft,” the playwright explains how the roots she shares with the superstar — they’re both from the same area of Tennessee — proved so important to Hall’s work on the show.
She also talked about why it was important to both her and to Turner to show the lows of Turner’s life as well as the rock-star highs. “I think there’s something to the theater being a place where stories need to be witnessed,” Hall said. “To be in the room with violence, and to be in the room with hardship, and to be in the room with blood — I think it makes you understand that depth and that pain, to be in that abyss with her, when you are in the room with it. There’s something to watching it on a screen and being able to turn it off, but when you are locked in that space and you are breathing and hearing the cries of a child that’s being beaten, it is transformative. It makes you truly, truly understand just how disempowering violence is.”
New episodes of “Stagecraft” are available every Tuesday. Download and subscribe to Stagecraft on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher and anywhere that finer podcasts are dispensed. Find past episodes here and on Apple Podcasts.