Picture of Temi Majekodunmi

What are the themes of your play?

The themes of my play Positive are friendship, sexuality, Black masculinity and love.

Why did you write it and why now?

The idea of Positive had been cooking on the back stove in my mind for a while this past year. It felt like the right time for it to be served. I was interested in writing about love and when I started writing, platonic love felt very natural and truthful to me. I’m drawn to telling stories that centre the Black male experience and then for Positive gay Black men specifically. I wanted to showcase a different side to young gay Black gay men, I don’t think there are many variations out at the moment.

I think I also wrote it so that people who aren’t ‘normal’ theatregoers could enjoy it. I wrote it to create a space where people can laugh and hold each other safely whilst discussing delicate issues. When creating my main characters I imagined them being in a room with no filter being their most authentic selves. I then turned those conversations into a play – hopefully, audiences will hear what those crazy yet funny conversations are like. More importantly, I wrote Positive for gay Black men, Positive is a play for gay Black men first.

Which playwrights are you influenced by and in what way?

Michaela Coel’s Chewing Gum Dreams –  I think it was one of the first plays I read. She wrote so fearlessly so when I was writing my play sometimes I was thinking is this too much? Then I thought, nah, Michaela was fearless, I can be too. Michaela influenced me to be myself whilst reminding me there’s always a joke to be told somewhere!

Matilda Feyiṣayọ Ibini’s Sleepova –  Sleepova for me was written so effortlessly, Matilda’s dialogue was bouncy and easily digestible which is how I think every play should be. Matilda influenced me to write Black characters in our many contrasting forms. I think seeing that play more than once reminded me to be playful in anything I make. Art can be and should always be fun.

Waleed Akhtar’s P Word – Waleed because as I’m also an actor, he influenced me to empower myself as a multi-hyphenate. Not to mention highlighting gay stories from a non-white perspective. I think there were lessons on how to write romance in his writing that I heavily enjoyed, especially as we all know how the lines between friendship and relationship can be easily blurred which is explored in my play.

What do you want to achieve as a playwright?

As a playwright, I’d like to reach worlds outside of the one I’ve written in. I want to achieve a sort of legacy and remembrance of my work that will continue long beyond when I’m no longer able to create. I’d also like to make individuals feel wholeheartedly included and seen in the stories I write whilst having the continued freedom to do so. I want people to connect the dots when they watch my work like they’ve completed a puzzle. After audiences digest my work on the train home I’d like them to think ‘wowww I need to see that again’.

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