Author Encapsulates Spirit of Dead Actress

OPWCBy Cat Donnelly

“I’m tired. I’m tired. Those of you that I love know who you are. May God bless you.” are the words from the suicide note of singer/Tony award-winning actress, Phyllis Hyman. Based on actual events, Meet Me on the Moon by Clinnesha D. Sibley is a one-woman show encapsulating Phyllis’ influences including her relationships with men, her work, drug abuse and manic depression. Sometimes humorous, sometimes bitter, is the testimony of Phyllis Hyman—the last day in the life of this sensual songbird whose pain and yearnings put us in tune with our own human hearts.

Award-winning playwright and University of Arkansas Assistant Professor in the Department of Drama, Clinnesha Sibley will feature for Ozark Poets and Writers on Tuesday, Aug. 27, 7 p.m. at Nightbird Books on Dickson Street. The McComb, Miss., native will have a dramatic reading of her newest play. Sibley earned a B.A. from Tougaloo College in Jackson, Miss., before her M.F.A. in Playwriting from the U of A.

As a ‘recruit’ from the George Washington Carver Research Program, Sibley moved to Fayetteville for graduate school in 2006. She remembers being introduced to the world of live theatre as a teenager when a touring production came to her hometown. Sibley wrote her first play at around 7 years of age called The Littering Bunny Rabbits, a message play that her sister, cousin, and she performed in her living room. “I remember designing costumes for that play,” says Sibley. “I continued writing plays as a kid for school and church functions.”

Even at a young age, Sibley had a sense of social responsibility and she currently admires any playwright who practices theatre for social change. She is inspired most by love, family dynamics, relationships, and the African American Civil Rights Movement. For more information and links to her other plays including “King Me: Three One Act Plays Inspired by the Life and Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,” visit: Los Angeles native, Actor Rachel Washington, will play the part of Phyllis Hyman in this production of Meet Me on the Moon. Washington is an undergraduate from the University of Notre Dame who is currently working towards her MFA in Playwriting at the University of Arkansas.

Join OPWC Tuesday night where you can catch a dramatic performance of a one-woman play. We encourage you to bring your own writing for the open mic portion of the evening. As past feature, Ashley McHugh said, “[OPWC] really encourages a sense of community, even camaraderie, that’s rare to come across; and the atmosphere is always warm and welcoming.”

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