“If people don’t see your vision, get away from them. People are naysayers. Even if you don’t have the background or experience, so what! If you have the passion for something, go for it.”

-Lovail Long

 

Interviewed by Kristen Woodruff

1. What do you do? I am a playwright, producer, and a guy that is a natural born hustler.

 

2. So you are a playwright. How did you get your start? I was incarcerated for selling drugs. So, it’s 3 of us: Vernon O. Williams III, Salahuddin Mahdi and myself. Salahuddin was my bunk mate and he used to write all the time. He asked me to read his work. He would write a book and everyone would be excited about reading them. One day, Salahuddin asked me to read one of his books. I refused at first but then I finally read it. I found out it had a “gansta” twist to it. I didn’t want to continue to read it because it brought back so many negative memories from my past. That’s when I came up with the idea to do something different. I asked Salahuddin what he thought about doing the Go Go version of the Wizard of Oz. I called Big G, otherwise known as Anwan Glover, who is not only in movies but acts on the The Wire. Once I talked to him, he was so excited because he said the Wiz was his favorite. I had an illegal phone in prison so I would look up directors and people who were doing theatre in DC. I eventually contacted Williams and told him about my idea for the Giz. We met to discuss the play details. I did all the background research on how to write a script. After finishing the first 3 scenes, I contacted him and he was confident that it would be a hit. It was approved by Williams himself. It took me two weeks to write the entire script.

 

3. What inspired you to write it? My motivation to write this script was to give me something positive to focus on so I wouldn’t go back to prison and repeat what I just came out of.

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