A Visit from Sweet Water’s Playwright

July 31st, 2019

A Visit From Sweet Water Taste’s Playwright, Gloria Bond Clunie

Horizon Theatre Company’s production of Sweet Water Taste opened on July 12th to audience acclaim and critical kudos.  We were lucky enough to have the show’s playwright, Gloria Bond Clunie, with us for the opening weekend. Playwright Gloria Bond Clunie was inspired to write Sweet Water Taste after reading an article in Time Magazine about Jefferson & Hemings. While the play is set in modern day, it is not hard to see the connection.  Originally from North Carolina, Clunie set Sweet Water Taste there.

W. E. B. Dubois declared that the most difficult question of the 20th century is the color line! Even as we slip into the twenty-first century, this question still begs to be addressed. Though integration in some arenas is evident, the vestiges of racism still lurk under the trappings of a legally desegregated society.

As cities explode over which monuments should stand or fall, we wonder when the next “Charlottesville” will erupt. We ask ourselves, “Are ‘both sides’ really to blame?” In this “Post- Obama Era,” why are some outraged when NFL players drop a knee with Kaepernick? What are the unspoken thoughts when two African-American sisters compete at Wimbledon? Are there times when integration is inappropriate? Should all doors swing wide? Should some remain closed? In 2019, why do descendants of Thomas Jefferson still refuse burial to descendants of Sally Hemings’ in the ‘family graveyard’ at Monticello?

Are we truly brothers and sisters under the skin?

As we become a more homogenous, yet diverse society, these are subtle issues we must continue to reexamine as new generations view icons like Dubois and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as historical figures instead of living leaders. When addressing such serious issues, perhaps if we sometimes open our mouths to laugh, we might open our hearts to a wider understanding of humanity and hopefully discover unique solutions to the challenges we face in our future.

Peace! Joy! Power! Blessings!

-Gloria Bond Clunie

Gloria Bond Clunie is an award-winning playwright, director and educator. Clunie is a founding member of the Playwriting Ensemble at Chicago’s Regional Tony Award winning Victory Gardens Theater where her plays North StarLiving Green and Shoes premiered. She is also the founding Artistic Director of Evanston’s Fleetwood-Jourdain Theatre. Other plays include SMOKEMalindy, Sing!Buck NakedDRIPMerry KwanzaaMercy Rising and QUARK. Her plays have been workshopped and produced in a variety of theaters including Victory Gardens Theatre, Goodman Theatre, Fleetwood-Jourdain Theatre, ETA, Alliance Theatre, Triad Stage, Her Story Theatre, MPAACT, Southern Appalachian Repertory Theatre, Penobscot Theatre and Orlando Shakespeare Theater. She and her husband Basil live in Evanston, Illinois and are the proud parents of daughter Aurelia.