Before I Settle
By: Johnerio Scott
A lot of people experience things in life, but if one person would talk about what they experienced to help others, the world would be stronger”, states playwright and producer Shaneisha Dodson. When you do something make sure what you’re doing can help someone or even inspire someone’s life. Bringing awareness to communities to help others and bringing forth insight of things that should be taken seriously is one of Dodson’s strengths that she displays in her stage plays. She has written and produced a number of plays. She is also the founder of Black Girlz Productions. “I became a playwright because I wanted to see my words come to life”, states Dodson. Some of her plays are entitled: Cheating on My Mistress, First Lady Club, Vagina Rights, and her latest, I’ll Be Single Before I Settle. What separates her from other playwright is her faith in God. Bringing awareness to domestic violence comes from her latest stage play from Black Girlz Productions entitled, “I’ll Be Single Before I Settle.” This is a story entering the lives of four best friends that rekindle an old college bet. With this bet they will see who can find true love first. As they race to find true love the foundations begin to crumble, forcing them to deal with secrets from their past. This stage play is to entertain and educate the audience on issues that are secretly plaguing our communities. What sets this play from her other plays is that it shines a light on the topic of HIV, and that it’s relatable to any situation. When getting this play started, along with other plays, Dodson like to begin with determining the characters, then their images and personalities to begin the story line. Some of her favorite writers are Tyler Perry, Mara Brock Akil, and T.D. Jakes. So far the reviews have been coming in and the reactions to the stage play have been phenomenal.
Johnerio: So, the play I’ll Be Single Before I Settle theme is to bring awareness to domestic violence. What gave you the need to write on that theme?
Shaneisha Dodson: I wanted to be that open book for someone. No, I wasn’t in a domestic violence relationship, but I know people that have. A lot of people experience things, but doesn’t share it to help others. We help others by expressing what we have been through and that’s what I’m doing helping someone that is going through domestic violence.
Johnerio: How are the relationships of the characters built in this play?
Shaneisha Dodson: The relationships are built off these four friends that came back together after their successful lives. They are single and having fun. They want to know who is going to find true love first by creating a bet. They act as if everything is perfect in their lives, but it’s not at all.
Johnerio: Did he or she see the abuse coming? Did he or she overcome it in the end?
Shaneisha Dodson: I can’t say much (laughs), but she did know it was coming. She was actually hiding it from her friends secretly.
Johnerio: Males are sometime abused in relationships as well. Does your play coincide with males?
Shaneisha Dodson: Yes. Anyone can be victimized from domestic violence, and you will feel comfortable watching the play.
Johnerio: What are some challenges you ran into when writing this play? When writing any play?
Shaneisha Dodson: Most of the time it is smooth sailing because I get ideals all the time, but I do get writers block. My brain freezes and I’m stuck until another ideal comes.
Johnerio: Do you write any of your plays from past experiences?
Shaneisha Dodson: No, all of my plays are fiction. They come from movies I have watched, people around me, or things that may inspire me.
Johnerio: Besides being a producer and playwright, you went to college and received a degree in psychology, counseling, and adult learning. Is there anything you haven’t done or learned yet that you want to in the future?
Shaneisha Dodson: A lot (laugh)! I recently did Spring Play Film Festival and it was awesome. I’m just going with the flow of things right now.
Johnerio: Do you use any of the knowledge from your previous academic’s accomplishments when writing your plays?
Shaneisha Dodson: Absolutely. I always use psychology because it helps with me developing characters, their behaviors, and with plots.
Johnerio: Which play from your collection would you say is the most influential or left a lasting impression on your audience?
Shaneisha Dodson: I would definitely say this play will be the most influential.
Johnerio: Do you see yourself writing for television, movie, or short film?
Shaneisha Dodson: I see myself writing film. I like how you can see everything happening in the plot from the beginning to the end. I enjoy it.
Making sure the awareness on domestic violence is being shared; Dodson has her play on the road. This stage play will be held west of Atlanta at the Riverside EpiCenter in Austell, GA. on Saturday, June 4, 2016. Showtime is at 7pm and all tickets are available now at http://www.eventbrite.com/e/ill-be-single-before-i-settle-stage-play-tickets-12990090711