You are here

It's All About 'Eve': Karl Williams' Sophomore Work Generates Buzz at Black Theatre Fest

(l-r) Andrew Clarke (producer), Jeff Anderson Gunter and Karl Williams

In 2006 with the staging of his second full-length play, Not About Eve, writer and actor Karl Williams showed that he was by no means a one-hit wonder. Several years later, the play continues to earn Williams accolades and gaining recognition. Its latest exploit took place earlier this month when Not About Eve played to a capacity audience at the Summit School Black Box Theatre and received standing ovations.

The occasion was the 2013 installment of the National Black Theatre Festival in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The NBTF is a biennial festival, created in 1989, and reportedly attracts crowds of up to 60,000 attendees.

Though Not About Eve played in an intimate black box theatre, seating approximately 100, its reception marked the event as a coup. Williams points out that the production is certainly his most successful to date, particularly in relation to its critical and commercial success.

Not About Eve was first staged at the Pantry Playhouse under direction by Michael Daley with Dorothy Cunningham, Karen Harriott and Sabrena McDonald, earning several Actor Boy Awards nods, including Best New Jamaican Play. It returned to the Jamaican stage in 2011, this time under Brian Heap’s direction and featuring Nadean Rawlins, Carol Lawes and Lisa Williams.

The play has seen much traction during and since those Jamaican stagings. In 2009, Not About Eve was selected for NYU’s Playwrights’ Development Series and received its Off-Off Broadway Premiere in 2012, produced by Braata Theatre Workshop at the Roy Arisa Theatre, Time Square.  Earlier, in 2010, Braata Theatre Workshop produced a staged reading of the play and by 2013, the production was so successful that it began playing with a double cast.

Not About Eve made it’s first appearance at the NBTF in 2011 when it received an A-List selection by the festival’s Readers’ Theatre Series, and after its 2013 victory is gearing up for regional tours across the United States.

“I feel great about the journey of the work,” Williams said. “The fact that it started 12 years ago, the fact that so many persons have been interested, gave voice to its characters and have helped to shape it - is humbling and rewarding,” he explained.

With his debut experimental play The Black That I Am, Williams had copped the Best New Jamaica Play statuette at the Actor Boy Awards. He notes that he still has aspirations for getting to Broadway, but his dreams have widened.

“I've always aspired to be on Broadway wether as an actor or playwright or both,” Williams said. He explained however that his five years in New York have taught him to value all audiences and now aims for the widest possible audience. He is working toward the 2014 New York Premiere of The Black That I Am, producing new scripts, and perusing historical figures for unknown aspects of their lives.

“So my new goal for any work I do would be to get the gift of a global audience... It's no longer just about Broadway it's about the Diaspora wherever they are on the planet, and about those who are not from the Caribbean experiencing the work,” Williams said.