I have to be honest – I’m scared. All the time. I’m a big ol’ fraidy cat. I am afraid of Chihuahuas – no seriously - I am afraid of walking in parking decks at night, driving small cars between 18 wheelers on the highway and this: of making art – good art, or even bad art, art that matters. Completely terrified. All the time.
But fear, in my opinion, reminds us of that great capacity for care. I care A LOT about not getting squashed like a bug in my Nissan and I care very deeply about storytelling. Telling is how we learn, gain empathy, share, fall in love. Everything we do, have, care about at all begins with a Telling. Some people even believe the world began with a Telling – those simple, pure words: let there be…
Please don’t burn me as a heretic, or think me a zealot if I say that this is what artists do. Whisper “let there be…” into that what is shapeless and formless until existence springs forth. This is an incredible power and an immense responsibility.
James Baldwin believed that we, artists, should disturb the peace. Nina Simon asserted that our duty is to reflect the times. I am a young, Black, Southern, scared woman living in what people have come to call America. I hope to channel my fear and my endless care into great peace-disturbing-mirror-in-the-face-of-all-that-is-my-reality art. Even if my voice shakes, even if my hands sweat, even if my breath grows shallow. I have come to love being scared. I still put my foot on the gas and keep time with the truck drivers because sure, I might get squished – but I might also get some place worth going.
I’m very excited about the future here at Paper Lantern and I hope you are too. Even more than that, I hope you are just as scared and care just as much.
Kamilah is the new Co-Artistic Director for Paper Lantern Theatre for Tomorrow, the Artistic Apprentice at Triad Stage in Greensboro, a Director and Playwright. She graduated from University of North Carolina at Greensboro where she earned a BFA in Theatre Education. She grew up in Gastonia, NC and there she fostered her love for theatre. Kamilah's produced plays include: WHAT (2017 Bennett College) CONCESSIONS (2016 Ruby Slipper Fringe Festival) MASS (2014 UNCG Fall Briefs) and she has self-produced two successful productions of her work: LIVED IN: A NIGHT OF APARTMENT THEATRE and WHAT. She is a KCACTF award winning playwright.