Name: Dane Figueroa Edidi
Hometown: Baltimore, Maryland
Current Town: Washington DC
Q: How do you self-identify?
A: Black, Cuban, Indigenous, Nigerian, American Trans Priestess, Goddess, Healer…
My father is a Muslim immigrant from Nigeria, my mama is Cuban and Indigenous. I come from a family of very powerful women and nearly everyone has an artistic gift. Because my grandfather played guitar he made sure my mother, aunts and uncle had some form of musicality. The women in my family can sang. Both myself and my sister Lovey are also writers, and my Aunt Liz was an incredible jazz singer and academic, she wrote often.
Q: Tell me about Hierodule.
A: My new play Hierodule is based on a short story called The Witches Grey, which is a prelude to an upcoming epic novel of mine called the The Anthems Of Trees. It is about three sisters whose mother was an infamous medium and sex worker. They return to their ancestral home to perform a ritual, figure out if they want to sell it, and lay to rest their grievances.
Q: What else are you working on now?
A: My 8th book, The Blood of A Thousand Roots was just published which has been like unto a healing balm for me while writing it. A great chunk of the book is about the relationships between myself and the women in my family.
I am also working on the third book in the Ghetto Goddess Trilogy about a teenage Trans Witch from Baltimore and her mother. I am so excited for people to finally get to see what happens to this Coven of powerful women.
On the 20th of February, I am performing a cabaret called Nocturnal Nuance. We are living in a time where the veil has been removed and we are gaining greater clarity. It is the last breath of white supremacy and the Patriarchy. Tyrants are falling. Systems of Oppression are trembling at the shout of Liberation. One of the ways I facilitate healing, one of the ways I protest the evils of this regime is through my art. It will be a night of poetry, song, and revolution. Plus my mom and I are gonna sing a duet.
I am working on a book of poetry called FOR BLACK TRANS GIRLS WHO GOTTA CUSS A MOTHERFUCKER OUT WHEN SNATCHING AN EDGE AIN’T ENOUGH: A Choreo Drama which can also be utilized as a script.
Oh, I am also working on libretto for an opera called Savannah with composer/performer Will Shish who I have co-written a few songs with before.
Q: What have been the defining moments of your journey as a playwright?
A: Writing my first play. I was literally a child, but it felt amazing to look at those pages and think, “I birthed this, a little ole trans girl from Baltimore City gave birth to this.”
Finding a composer (Andrew Morrissey) for Roaring the Musical, which is a musical I began writing the book for in 2001 about a Trans star and her family in the 1920s. We have since done readings in DC and NYC.
My one woman show Klytmnestra: An Epic Slam Poem being produced at WoW Theater Cafe in New York mainly because Cee Cee Azure was one of the producers. It was an example of Black Trans Women pouring into the lives and work of Black Trans Women.
Another moment was having Absalom be a part of the Theater Alliance HotHouse Festival because it had a reading at the Kennedy Center as part of the Prelude Festival. I had dreamt about that when I was younger and it had come to be.
And so many more…
Q: Who have been your playwriting mentors and heroes?
A:Trans Artist of color who are giving birth to/cultivating/curating incredible art inspires me. Artist like Chema Pineda-Fernández, Venus Selenite, Kokomo, Kay Ulanday Barrett, Ryka Aoki, Goddess X, just to name a few.
I grew up reading playwrights like Shakespeare, Euripides, August Wilson, Lorraine Hansberry. The work of dancers like Alvin Ailey, Katherine Dunham, Orisha dance, Styles like Kabuki theater, and Noh, the stories of Ancestral Gods were in many ways mentors for the way I engage storytelling. Classical text and the work of Black poets were so important to shaping the way I experience language.
Q: What advice do you have for Latin@ playwrights at the beginning of their career?
A: Never forget your life is essential, your work is important.
Q: What else should we know about you?
A: Buying copies of my books is a way of pouring into my life and my work. I am also working now on a Patreon. I have so many more ideas, thoughts and dreams I want to manifest but I also require more coin to make some of them come into being.
***For more on Dane Figueroa Edidi, see:
- Check out Dane Figueroa Edidi’s work
- Visit Dane Figueroa Edidi’s personal website
- Watch Race Forward’s “#RaceAnd: Lady Dane Figueroa Edidi“
- Watch “A Black Trans Woman Speaks of America“
- Watch “Show To Do” from Roaring the Musical
- Dane Figueroa Edidi’s Nocturnal Nuance
- Listen to “The Spirituality of Transition“
- Follow Dane Figueroa Edidi on Twitter