PLAYWRIGHT. DIRECTOR. ACTOR. POET.
 
 
 

ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHT

"Melanie Maria Goodreaux is an imaginative dramatist who blends the real with the surreal, the expressionist with the impressionist. She writes with gumption to deliver a collage of images, a medley of rhythms, and a kaleidoscope of color for the stage. She is truly an original.” 
 

— Anthony T. Saralegui, Dramaturge, Playwright, Author,  
Boston Road,  How To Write One Play

Melanie Maria Goodreaux is a poet, playwright, fiction writer, actor, and director-dramatist from New Orleans, Louisiana, living, writing, and creating theater in New York City.  Her plays are surreal, stylistic, poetic, racial, unconventional, and many times blend genres for dramatic effect. Douglas Turner Ward of the original Negro Ensemble Theater Co, calls her work, “a cornucopia of imaginative theatricality, written with enormous energy and poetic sensibility.” 

She is a stellar and imaginative dramatist whose work has been featured across the country, and even France. Her works of poetry and fiction are known for their musicality, rhythm, and original voice. Her works have been performed at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe, Yale University, Sarah Lawrence College, the Louisiana Jazz and Heritage Center, and more.  A master of both crafts, playwriting is her first love, while poetry is intrinsic to her survival. 

Her experience as a dramatist is rooted in several artistic movements of the Lower East Side of New York City where she learned to value imagination and ingenuity over pretense when it comes to "putting up a show." She worked with tenants of a building to turn the first floor apartment of a six-floor walk-up in the East Village into an out-the-way black box theater with 30 seats, (where Wynton Marsalis performed regularly and was even nominated for a Grammy for his live concert there.) The group rigged a kitty litter box for a lighting board-- and she and other playwrights put up their plays for audiences by "any means necessary" and by "hook or crook." She did demolition, plastered, and painted the walls of the black box--  a masterful theater "gorilla" who learned to put up plays with some of the toughest dramatists that have ever lived. She was mentored by the legendary  Steve Cannon of A Gathering of the Tribes, guided by  Dramaturge Anthony T. Saraluegui,  and produced by Absolute Theater Company with Charles Drew, Jr. and his eclectic crewe of "Munsters." She produced several runs of plays at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe via Lois Elaine Griffith, Miguel Algarin, and the late Carmen Pietri. And most recently, enjoys doing her work and being part of the warm community of theater-makers and artists at Theater for the New City, executively directed by Crystal Field.

In New York City, her plays "Saydee and Deelores," "Walter, Bullets, and Binoculars," "Mo’Batz’ Ride," "Controle’s Predicament," and "Sometimes It’s Very Much About Ownership," have been featured at Chelsea Playhouse, the House of Tribes Theater, the Abingdon Theater, Studio Players Theater, the Linhart Theater, the Lillian Theater in Los Angeles, the Nuyorican Poets Café during the HOWL Festivals, the New York Theater Festival,  Hudson Guild, and Theater for the New City. 

THE  PLAYS

Her original niche has been New Orleans storytelling — blending antebellum and poetic hoodoo rhythms with stark surrealism.  Inspired by a true story, her play "Saydee and Deelores" is a reimagining of the night before her Creole aunts left Algiers in the 1940's, denying their race, and their family to "pass for white." Drawing again from real life, her play "Walter, Bullets, And Binoculars," is a sexy dark comedy that deconstructs the city's rampant murder rate and the mysterious killing of one of her friends, and the wrongful imprisonment of another. Her play “Katrina Who?!” is an expression of grief and rage over the storm and flooding of her hometown, while SWAP is a wild cast of characters trapped within their commitments. Time OUT New York describes it as Melanie Maria's "expressionist bauble that blends affirmational riffs on identity into a quartet of violent relationship fantasies ... with several adorable performances.“ Enough Vo5 for the Universe marks the playwright being influenced by the "Afrofuturist" artistic movement, while dealing with themes of grief, loss, loneliness, feminism, and her continual dissection of race and its complexity.

ENOUGH VO5 FOR
THE UNIVERSE

is science-fiction and comedic Afro-futurism. The story takes place in the year 2097. Three African-American female survivors of an unnamed worldwide cataclysm strive to exercise control and spirituality in a dystopian environment. Mona Machine, Dr. Dorinda, and Ann Tenna McCloud engage in a death-dealing battle amongst each other over love,  fried chicken, and the mysterious whereabouts of the last black man left in the world.  Hair weave flies through the universe. There is not enough lotion, hair grease, or shampoo to soothe all of the pain and loneliness in this weird world. The drama ensues with the derailing of Mona Machine’s 130th birthday party, genocide, and the digital manipulations of an unseen force.. The play is multi-media with film clips, an incredible score, and original animation. Runs 60-75 mins.

 

SAYDEE AND DEELORES

A period piece, set in segregated New Orleans in the 1940's. Deelores Delacroy has a last bowl of of gumbo with her high falutin' Creole family before sneaking off the next day with her husband to "pass for white." Saydee, the firecracker of the family confronts her at the farewell dinner and let's everybody know what's really been cooking. Based on a true story, this play captures an insider's sense of "Creole Culture," southern humor, and the complexities of race that exist in New Orleans.  Runs  1 hour 20 mins.

WALTER. BULLETS. AND BINOCULARS.

Inspired by a real murder that occurred during crime-ridden New Orleans of the 1990’s, this play is a sexy ‘mock’ murder mystery’ that puts a wacky cast of characters including Mizz Pristine Praline, Helen Hitman Hellfire the Fox, and Detective Marcheesey in charge of solving the mysterious murder of Walter Martineau, an infamous womanizer.  All of Walter's girlfriends are suspect, but his true love Madame Dear Ruby Red Rare Rosebud introduces a slew of other possible suspects including his cold and cocaine-addicted mother who has a famous cooking show on a local TV station. Spark Smitten, Walter's ex-roommate is wrongfully accused of the crime, while the cops and media clumsily make up their own story of why so many people, especially black men, are being murdered in a symbolized "New Orleans." Bullets fly, people die, the murder rate is high, and on Lake Pontchartrain, bird watchers catch the Purple Martens fly. Runs 1 Hour 45 Minutes.

SWAP

Time OUT NY calls SWAP Melanie Maria's  "expressionist bauble that blends affirmational riffs on identity into a quartet of violent relationship fantasies ... with several adorable performances..." The play features a wild cast of characters trapped within their commitments and is dripping with comedy, sex, guns, porkchops, and leopards. An arrogant "simp" named Monty and his  afro-centric jargon-jogging friend named "Friendly" team up against Monty's wife, Tabitha, a porkchop-slinging, revolutionary, while Coach Trainhur drives his loved one, Fatty Catty crazy with his ridiculous rules and nit-picking. The actors climb in and out playing spaces with speed and hilarity, creating one raucous ride. Runs 65 mins. 

 

KA-TRINA WHO?!

A poignant re-telling of true-life stories from her hometown New Orleans following Katrina's destruction. Five folks from different parts of a flooded Big Easy chat it up while waiting in a "relief line." Runs 25 mins.

Other plays by Melanie Maria Goodreaux:

  • And Sometimes It's Very Much About Ownership

  • Con Trole's Predicament

  • Mo Batz' Ride

  • Children's Adaptations of several classics (Les Miserables, Phantom of the Opera, Frankenstein, The Little Prince.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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REVIEWS AND QUOTES

 

"Walter. Bullets. And Binoculars. is a cornucopia of imaginative theatricality. Melanie Goodreaux writes with enormous energy and poetic sensibility. The form and style of the play mixes genres and mediums almost to excess — but her inventiveness, humor, pathos, lyrical imagery, satirical riffs and social

observations abound.”

 

DOUGLAS TURNER WARD,

FOUNDER of THE NEGRO ENSEMBLE THEATER COMPANY

"SWAP is  Melanie Maria's expressionist bauble that blends affirmational riffs on identity into a quartet of violent relationship fantasies ... with several adorable performances..."

 

TIME OUT NY

 

"Melanie Maria Goodreaux is an extremely gifted writer. Her play Saydee and Deelores is a delightful, thought- provoking work, written with incisive insight, acerbic wit, sly humor, and prickly compassion about a rare but timeless theme—the color codes and tensions within Black Society and their outside repercussions. ...the play rings with accuracy and authority.”

 

DOUGLAS TURNER WARD,

FOUNDER of THE NEGRO ENSEMBLE THEATER COMPANY


"Melanie Maria Goodreaux is an imaginative dramatist who blends the real with the surreal, the expressionist with the impressionist. She writes with gumption to deliver a collage of images, a medley of rhythms, and a kaleidoscope of color for the stage. She is truly an original.” 

ANTHONY T. SARALEGUI,

DRAMATURGE,  PLAYWRIGHT, BOSTON ROAD

"... The idea was to celebrate New York, and, as Walter Dean Myers writes in the foreword, inspire a "cultural reweaving of the familiar....all of the poems were gathered together and poet Melanie Maria Goodreaux pieced words, feelings and ideas from each of them into one big poem....

 

The result was a melding of perspectives, descriptions, alliterative verse and sound words into a poem that feels almost as big and bold and diverse as the city itself -- a poem that when read aloud feels like it has the energy of a chorus behind it."

JENNIFER MILLER, WHERE THE BEST BOOKS ARE, in reference to "A Poem As Big As the City"  adapted by Melanie Maria Goodreaux, Finalist for the 2012 ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year Award for Picture Books (Children’s).

http://greatkidbooks.blogspot.com/2012/09/a-poem-as-big-as-new-york-city-little.html

https://teachersandwritersmagazine.org/a-poem-as-big-as-new-york-city-794.htm

C O N T A C T

MELANIE MARIA GOODREAUX

 

CONTACT 

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