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Meet the Moxie Commission: Marissa Joyce Stamps

This week, we're proud to announce the three playwrights participating in The Moxie Commission! Each one of these fantastic writers will be creating three brand-new plays for virtual performance, which you'll be able to see in March, May, and July. On Monday, we introduced Jess, the first of our three playwrights. Now, meet Marissa Joyce Stamps!

Check out her bio and read on for a Q&A with Marissa about Afrosurrealism, Food Network, Fairview, and more.

Want to support the Moxie Commission and new work written by, staffed by, and spotlighting the stories of women+? You can donate here!

MARISSA JOYCE STAMPS (she/her) is a Haitian-American NYC-based writer, director, and actor whose mission is to center, celebrate, and amplify Black and Brown voices through an Afrosurrealist lens. She was chosen to develop her play, YOU CAN TELL FROM THE TWISTED JUNIPER, in The Workshop Theater's Writers Intensive. She was a playwright in the 24 Hour Plays: Nationals 2020. She is a company member of The Anthropologists, where she is a core collaborator in developing NO PANTS IN TUCSON. Marissa has performed at, written for, and collaborated with The National Black Theatre, Ars Nova, The Fire This Time Festival, FEMFEST Houston, New Ohio Theatre, Keen Company, The Wild Project, Playwrights Downtown, BUFU, Women Between Arts, and more. | BFA in Drama + BA in Journalism: NYU | | @marissajoycestamps

What drives you to work in theatre?

I’m driven to make work in theatre because I want to show the world that the Black experience is one that’s diasporic, just like its people. It’s so tiring to see the same narratives (really stereotypes) perpetuated onstage. I just want to see Black folk being Black folk, which is something I feel is rare to come by. And thankfully, there are so many amazing Black playwrights that are bringing these stories to life right this very moment. So many of the Black experiences I see onstage are rooted in trauma, as if Black folk can’t experience happiness… I want to put my people in spaces of urgent joy onstage.

Afrosurrealism excites me as a theatre artist because one, Afrofuturism is too far for me! The time is now! Two, I feel as though my unique experience as a Black woman is Afrosurreal; there are so many moments that feel out of this world to me and make me question my reality.

Who is a woman+ artist who inspires you?

Jackie Sibblies Drury HANDS DOWN! She is such a major influence on me and my work, especially in relation to Afrosurrealism. Jackie Sibblies Drury has a way with making her audience look at itself, almost as if her plays are warped (or unwarped) carnival mirrors. With her work, you really start to question everything around you months after you’ve experienced it. More importantly, her writing makes me feel seen. Sidenote: Everyone go read Fairview.

What excites you about virtual theatre?

Virtual theatre excites me because I feel like theatre is finally being shaken to catch up in the entertainment industry; we’ve been so far behind! GOSH! I think what gets me the most excited is that accessibility to theatre has been reevaluated during quarantine, so many demographics have been left behind from partaking in theatre and it took a pandemic for us to find the solution to including them.

What have you been reading, watching, or playing this year that you would recommend?

Breaking Bad, The Midnight Gospel, The Body is Not An Apology, Defuntland, and a lot of National Geographic and Food Network!

What makes you feel hopeful right now?

What’s making me hopeful nowadays is the small moments of human connection and community that are usually overlooked. Also, when parents post videos of babies being babies!; I wish we all had that kind of innocence and were as receptive and as giving of love.

Check back on Friday to meet our final commissioned playwright!

Want to support our work? You can donate here!

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