Promising Playwright, October 2011
"One day I was walking on Georgia Avenue with some friends, and we were looking for a corner store and couldn’t find it. Instead, we saw a big condominium where the corner store used to be," shares Shannon Marshall. "When we saw that, we were like, ’Wow, what is going on?’"
Shannon’s experience of the gentrification happening in her own neighborhood inspired her to write Society Unjust, which was performed as part of the 2011 New Play Festival. Society Unjust is about a 73-year-old woman faced with the difficult decision of whether to sell her home to a developer to pay for her medical expenses.
Shannon based her protagonist on her grandmother. She says of her grandmother’s experience, "Developers were saying, ’This is a historic neighborhood’, and property tax was raised, but my grandmother was very, very determined to keep living in the area. She lived there up until she passed away, when her house was sold and renovated. When I saw my play performed, I was like, ’Wow, that’s my grandmother on stage.’"
Shannon wrote Society Unjust while in the In-School Playwriting Program in the 11th grade at Bell Multicultural High School, but she has been involved with YPT since the company came into her classroom in 7th grade. "It was a great experience because it was different from just sitting and watching our teacher teach," she remembers. "You had a chance to be creative and do stuff you wanted to do."
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