Friday, September 4, 2015

Spotlight On...Ingrid Griffith

Name: Ingrid Griffith

Hometown: Georgetown, Guyana and Wyandanch, NY, U.S.A.

Education: City College (MA, Creative Writing); Studied Acting with Wyn Handman, Vivian Matalon and other influential teachers.

Favorite Credits: Theatre: Demerara Gold, (all 18 characters); Ruined by Lynn Nottage (Mama Nadi); Doubt by John Patrick Shanley (Mrs. Mullen)

Why theater?: Because I must.  Acting gives me the freedom to explore, appreciate and understand humanity and present issues and challenges that can be the catalyst for change.  

Tell us about Demerara Gold:  Demerara Gold is the story of a 7-year old girl who is left in the care of her two grandmothers in Guyana after her parents suddenly get visas to go the U.S.A.  Years without them feel like eternity as the spirited girl struggles with the traditions of her grandmothers’ worlds.  Finally, the all important visas arrives and the girl rejoins her parents in America to find all that was promised and more than she bargained for.

What inspired you to create Demerara Gold?: There are generations of Afro-Caribbean immigrants who have been living here in the U.S. most of their lives and children of Caribbean heritage who were born here, whose stories we don’t often read about or see in film and on stage. Demerara Gold is a story about one caribbean girl and her family’s dreams and struggles to make it in America.   It’s the Caribbean-American version of A Raisin in the Sun.   My solo play presents the ferocious conflict, family as battleground for psychic survival.

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: Theater that builds bridges and breaks convention. Sculpture,  photography, poetry, books.  Writers like Toni Morrison, Jamaica Kincaid and Elizabeth Alexander.  Director, Lee Daniels.  Actor,  Anna Deveare Smith.  Choreographer, Bill T. Jones.

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: Directors, Lee Daniels and  Woody Allen.

What show have you recommended to your friends?:  John by Annie Baker

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: The movie will be called:  Demerara Gold (adapted from my 1-woman play), and of course, I’ll play myself.  But if I’m too busy, then Thandie Newton or Zoe Saldana will have to step in.

If you could go back in time and see any play or musical you missed, what would it be?:  The Broadway production of A Streetcar Named Desire with Marlon Brando, Jessica Tandy, Kim Hunter and Karl Malden. Vaudeville shows in the 1930s and 40s with Madame O’Lindy, Bill Rogers, Sam Chase, Jack Mello and the other Guyanese performers of that era.  

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?:  Lately, vanilla milkshake with a layer of Eldorado Golden Rum Cream Liqueur from Guyana...  yum! yum!

If you weren’t working in theater, you would be _____?: hitch-hiking the universe.

What’s up next?: I hope to complete a book and to find more genres/platforms to maximize my artistic self expression.

For more on Demerara Gold, visit