Adam Hinkle of Stone Soup Theatre Project asked me to write and co-create “The Park” in 2015 after he’d seen my ten minute play “Chicago Collage” at Chicago Dramatists. “Chicago Collage” is a story of three south side youths creating a memorial on a street corner where their friend/brother was shot and killed. Adam had been volunteering with the group ONE Northside on the north side of town and introduced his idea for an original web series inspired by true events of violence prevention experts working around the clock to counter violence in Chicago. Adam thought my dialogue and character development could provide a realistic portrayal of the story he wanted to tell.
I was honored that Adam considered me capable of a project of such magnitude. Upon our first meeting, when Adam shared his source material and concepts for the first season, and seeing the narrative scope he wanted to create for the series, made me agree to collaborate. I was compelled by the organizers’ commitment to saving lives and also the tragedies they encounter, and yet through those tragedies they continue to persevere to better their community and city. I was fortunate to meet and interview Chris Patterson, author of “21: The Epitome of Perseverance”. His insights to violence in Chicago made writing this script possible.
Chris’ story is the driving force behind the inspiration of the entire first season of “The Park”. Collaborating with Adam on this project has been an experience of pure creative freedom, that is always being directed back to finding the truth of what it is we are trying to convey with this series. We’re not providing any kind of suggestive solution to the violence of Chicago with this web series. We’re providing the other angle which you don’t see in news highlights… Stories of how good people find themselves immersed in bad situations, and creating a humanistic identity to a problem that has numbed this major city in America.