CHICAGO (WLS) -- Legendary Chicago theater actress, playwright and director Regina Taylor is raising a virtual curtain for a new online production called 'the black album.2020.resistence.'
"I wanted to address what it is to be Black, right here and now," she said. "Because, for me, looking at where we are, looking at things that are happening, surrounding me, it scares me, one, but it also inspires me."
Conceived, written and directed by the Golden Globe winner, the play partners with the theater department at her alma mater SMU (Southern Methodist University) in Dallas. It's a virtual production in the age of COVID.
"As we are being quarantined and the question came up, 'How do you continue to teach and create theater if the pieces are not in a space where people come to that space? Is that still theater?'" Taylor explained.
The Chicago has done it all. While she's best known for creating iconic and memorable roles on screen, like her award winning turn in "I'll Fly Away," she is also a respected playwright and director who wanted to examine today's volatile environment.
"It looks all too familiar. I thought at this point in time, I would never have to see certain things again. I know it by the smell, I smell what's happening right now," she said. "It's why I wrote the piece, to have people have conversations about essential matters. Our lives matter. What does that mean? We need to have conversations that join us. That binds us."
Taylor recently won rave reviews for her part of the 1921 Tulsa race massacre in the HBO hit "Lovecraft Country."
"When I was given the role and I read the part, I wept. I think I cried every day," she said. "I felt a lot of ancestors with me as I did that part."
Taylor said now is a time for introspection. The time in quarantine has ignited her creativity.
"Absolutely. I take it as life is very fragile and what do I need to do?" she said. "What do I need to say right here and now? Absolutely, it has lit a fire under me and I am constantly creating."
Taylor was recently named artist-in-residence in the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis. She will spend three years writing and performing there.
"the black album.2020.resistence" will be presented online tonight, Oct. 27, and Thursday, Oct. 29 at 8 p.m.
Registration is free. Visit SMU's website to register for either performance.