In Conversation with Kareem M. Lucas

FEB 14, 2020

An interview with the writer and performer of The Maturation of an Inconvenient Negro (or iNEGRO).

Kareem M. Lucas

What was your process for writing a script that blends poetry and prose?
My process for writing iNEGRO took me years. The very first version was a collection of poems that I put together and performed as my first solo show, so it was only poems. Then after many years of creating and working on many other pieces I wanted to go back to the beginning, and play with how I could play with incorporating a story and being more intentional with what poetry was used and how it was used throughout the show. So, mixing in prose with the poetry naturally happened as the story became about the character searching for his artistic voice throughout the whole piece.

This piece features an original jazz composition. Can you describe that musical collaboration further and how it is integrated into the piece?
I collaborated with a brilliant composer/musician named Mauricio Escamilla. And, as I was very aggressively rewriting, Mauricio was creating a soundscape/underscore to reflect the inner life of the character throughout the play. The jazz composition is inspired by Miles Davis and other artists that is at times in support of and other times in conflict with the character and his search.

Is this piece autobiographical or inspired by your experiences?
Inspired by my life primarily, and lives of others. The character is a version of myself, and I take liberties. Sometimes the best way to tell the truth is to use your imagination.

What do you hope young artists leave this performance with?
That they have the power to find their own voice and tell their own story, and it is not only valuable, it is necessary.

Related Productions