Storyteller and musician Chris Anderson, a northwest artist who grew up on Chicago’s West Side, reached out to the Salon to help him find a playwright with whom he can join forces to tell his story. We took a few moments this past week to interview Chris and find out more about this unique opportunity.
Margaret O’Donnell (MOD): Why did you contact the Seattle Playwrights Salon?
Chris Anderson (CA): In 2018 I was awarded a grant from the Artist Trust and one of the perks from the grant was an opportunity to perform my production, 1hr2manup at the Neptune Theater. I had been preparing my show for three months, but was only allowed to actually practice the full production in the venue on the day of the performance. Creating the show was a bit of a struggle because I had so many ideas and concepts, but I wasn’t sure how to tie them all together. After my Neptune experience I walked away relieved it was over, but disappointed that I wasn’t able to use that opportunity to fully showcase my idea, which was under developed. My hopes are to collaborate with an established playwright who will help me streamline my vision.
MOD: Tell us about the kind of artist you are, and the music you make.
CA: Miles Davis said there are two types of music: good and bad. I create good music. I’m not only a music artist, I’m also a music producer, photographer, videographer, spoken word artist, clothing designer, drummer, percussionist, music curator, interior design, visual artist, and art installation designer.
The instrumental music I make comes from a place of both happiness and sadness. I draw from many forms of inspiration and hope to inspire others with my instrumental music. My record artistries come from a place of wanting to bring awareness to my culture—to wake up and take control over our lives to better ourselves for future generations.
MOD: What kinds of stories do you want to tell?
CA: I have a million stories from my life, all personal—some funny, some serious, some inspiring, some life changing, some crazy ridiculous—but all helpful in a way. I like to tell real stories, relatable stories, helpful ,and informative stories. I want people to be able to walk away learning something new from my experiences. I want to tell the kinds of stories that bring people together to shine awareness on cultural differences through a theater setting. Black people have amazing stories living inside of them. I want to be a vessel that pours out our stories to other communities.
MOD: How do you envision a collaboration with a playwright?
CA: I see us talking out my ideas and formulating a production approach based around their experience in theater and my experience on major and minor music stages and venues. I envision us working together to sharpen my vision, presenting it as an extremely heightened experience while keeping it fluid to always represent the journey I am traveling.
MOD: What kind of playwright/collaborator are you seeking?
CA: I’m seeking an experienced playwright that wants to push themselves creatively with me as we grow my idea from a spark to actual production. I have many ideas, but I lack experience in creating the narrative flow that would be appropriate for the stage. I hope the playwright that I partner with is outspoken and provides the guidance needed. I believe at this time in my life it is important to surround myself with people who are experienced in their field of work and will inspire me.
MOD: What are your artistic influences, especially for storytelling with music, or music with storytelling?
CA: I was privileged to work with a playwright, sculptor, curator, urban developer, and recording artist named Theaster Gates twenty years ago in his loft as a performance artist. That time spent with him and his work has inspired me to use all of my mediums to showcase who I am as an artist.
MOD: How should interested playwrights contact you?
CA: I can be contacted through my management company at firstname.lastname@example.org and/or email@example.com