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A Rose by any other name is just as poignant
Playwright Stacey Rose returns to Charlotte
Published Wednesday, January 29, 2020 11:30 am
by Ashley Mahoney | The Charlotte Post

Stacey Rose and her son, rapper Zion “NO¡ZE” Rose collaborated on “TRAPT.”

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Stacey Rose returns to Charlotte to tell a story from her soul.

She is the first artist selected for the BOOM festival artist residency, which begins in February. The Charlotte-based playwright’s work “TRAPT” culminates with a work-in-progress presentation at the festival April 17-19.

“I love telling stories,” Rose said via telephone this week from Minneapolis, Minnesota. “I love telling black American stories, because that’s my base of understanding.”
Festival founder Manoj Kesavan noted commissioning a work like this is a first for the festival, and the beginning of what they aspire to offer artists in the future, because of additional grant support from organizations like the North Carolina Arts Council.  

Rose a native of Elizabeth, New Jersey, and her son, Charlotte-based hip-hop artist Zion “NO¡Z” Rose collaborated on “TRAPT,” which is a combination of fable and documentary theater. It explores the challenges facing contemporary trap artists. The work was developed at The Playwrights’ Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Joe’s Pub in partnership with The Civilians. Rose and NO¡Z began working on the project in 2017.

“I love ‘TRAPT’ all around, because it really isn’t something that has been done,” NO¡Z said. “‘Hamilton’ did something with hip-hop and mixing it in with theater, but it’s completely different when you take a very recent genre of hip-hop music and trying to apply it to a play platform, which is what attracted me to it. On top of that, doing it with my mom, which is very rare for people to do—to work with their parents on a project, especially something as upscale as this.”

Said Rose: “Just trying to get an understanding of why fame is burning through these artists the way it is. It’s been fun to research that. We’ve done work on it here in Minneapolis, in New York, and now we have an opportunity to work on it in the South, which is where this play lives.”

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Rose’s residency includes a workshop, audition and panel discussion Feb. 8-9 at Johnson C. Smith University’s Arts Factory, rehearsal and feedback showing mid-March through mid-April, and culminating in the festival performance. The workshop on Feb. 8 explores “Creative responsibilities in the Development of New Work for Stage” from 12- 2 p.m. (attendees are encouraged to make a $10 donation at the door). Auditions for the show take place after the workshop from 2:30-4:30 p.m.

A panel discussion takes place on Feb. 9 from 5-6:30 p.m., followed by an artists’ reception until 7:30 p.m. Rose, OnQ Performing Arts founder Quentin Talley, director Martin Wilkins and UNC Charlotte Department of Theatre Chair Lynee Conner will discuss “New Work in the Queen City: How do we make Charlotte part of the national theatrical conversation?” “Arts for All” Artistic Director Heidi Breeden will moderate.

“I’m really excited to be doing some work at home,” Rose said from her residency at the Playwrights’ Center in Minneapolis, which runs through 2022. “It’s so weird to be in residency in Charlotte when I consider Charlotte home, and when I consider myself a Charlotte-based artist, which is what a lot of the work I will be doing during this residency is going to be focusing on. [It] is not only how I, but other people who work in theater nationally but who aren’t getting a lot of hometown love for whatever reason. It’s not from a place of animosity, but it is really from a place of curiosity. How can we get Charlotte artists who feel like they have to go elsewhere to be theater practitioners to be able to be more home based?”

Rose recalled moving to New York City in 2013 to pursue a master’s degree in dramatic writing from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts after earning a bachelors in theatre from UNC Charlotte. She has since been a 2019-20 McKnight Fellow, 2018 Sundance Theatre Lab Fellow, 2018-19 Goodman Theatre’s Playwrights Unit writer, Playwrights’ Center Many Voices Fellow (2017-18), Dramatist Guild Fellow (2015-16), and member of The Civilians R&D Group. She won the Burman New Play Prize in 2019 for “America v. 2.1: The Sad Demise & Eventual Extinction of the American Negro.”

Despite her success, Rose still has a day job as a respiratory therapist.

“Almost $45,000 roughly is what I’ve gotten over the last couple years,” she said. “That has pretty much secured me time to write and create and travel. I went to Morocco with Sundance Theatre Lab. It’s really been a gallop since I left in 2013 and still being based there, but it’s been hard for me to be there because of opportunities that don’t necessarily exist in the city for me to mount my work, and work on and develop new plays, but I am hoping to be a part of changing that.”


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