Why The Playwright, written by Will Griggs, is my new favourite play

Getty Images/Clyde Daniels, Public Domain Playwright Will Griggs, who died in 2007, is best known for his hit stage production of The Dance that Time Forgot, now available in the UK courtesy of Theatre…

Why The Playwright, written by Will Griggs, is my new favourite play

Getty Images/Clyde Daniels, Public Domain

Playwright Will Griggs, who died in 2007, is best known for his hit stage production of The Dance that Time Forgot, now available in the UK courtesy of Theatre Royal Haymarket London. The play takes its inspiration from the memory of Griggs’s father, who was murdered in 1965, aged 39, in a plane crash in Mali. “How this father ended up in Mali is a mystery,” Griggs’s daughter wrote in an essay for the Guardian. “He was an investigative journalist in search of truth who left his pregnant wife and two-year-old son in London to live in a country where it’s illegal to be gay or to live without Muslim faith. He went to save the life of another journalist. In the end, he paid with his own life.”

In The Playwright, Griggs admits that his father’s murder was not the reason he wrote the play. “But I think, for me, it has always been more about my dad,” he wrote in an interview with the Observer. “Even though it started as a play, it’s really more of a tribute to him, an attempt to turn that cold, terrible, dark time into a special kind of play, a memory play. For me, it’s quite a profound experience to do a play that seems to come from an equally profound past. In that way, it is a tribute.”

Griggs had a run of successes in the early 1980s before he fell out of the profession. Much like his characters in the play, Griggs rebounded from his trials in the play by turning his story into a book called The Odyssey. The story shares more of the same themes found in the play as well as some details from Griggs’s own life.

Broadway Play “Clyde’s”: Clyde Clyde Consequences, by Will Griggs, will be hosted by The Public Theater in New York, beginning Tuesday June 26 at 7 pm. It will also be live streamed via The New York Public Theater. For more information on the show, please visit their website.

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