THE IMMEASURABLE WANT OF LIGHT
by DAAIMAH MUBASHSHIR
INTRODUCed BY AMAUTA M. FIRMINO
WITH ORIGINAL ARTWORK BY NELL PAINTER
The Immeasurable Want of Light is a collection of many short plays drawn from Mubashshir’s two-year personal practice of writing a play a day to capture and express the ever-shifting perspective of living in black skin. Inspired by Chris Ofili’s Afro Muses, each play is distinct in subject, form and tone, presenting a constellation of theatrical portraits.
BOMB Magazine 2018 EDITOR’S CHOICE
The Immeasurable Want of Light builds into a dense polyphony, with characters and motifs recurring, advancing, and receding from view with each scene change—like paintings in a gallery that come in and out of focus as you walk around. Amid this vast cast of figures, recognizable personae like Moten and Hilton Als make cameos. Their roles within the galactic art colony setting register as exceedingly playful interventions, inflected by the reader’s familiarity with their writing and cultural presence. But beyond these personalities there are other touchstones, like an archaic pond, from which people emerge endowed with language: words, sentences, “whole mercurial texts” that overflow luminously. It’s a knowingly not-so-subtle metaphor for writing that breathes fresh life into the plays at discrete moments you didn’t know needed it. Even Als, at first glum, cynical, and incredulous, surfaces from the pond ecstatic.
—Rachel Valinsky for BOMB Magazine, 2018
When you see the quote “she’s ahead of her time” it means that everyone else needs catching up. Do yourself a favor, catch up; be here now, and you will need not look back. Here lies Black.
— Raja Feather Kelly
As a photographer, I am drawn to Mubashshir’s ability to create images with her words. Images that cling to you, so vivid and visceral that you will want to read slowly and savor every word.
— Kelli Connell
What unites these wild permutations about blackness is a fundamental question that has always been relevant and will likely remain so: from where is value derived?
— Stephen Christensen
This collection of plays is a testimony to and an expression of life in the Black body and psyche. The work dares to meet the subject matter where it is, allowing it to tell the truth, shame the devil, and put a self congratulatory industry on notice. The time for niceties has come and gone. If theatre is to be revolutionary, it cannot be lukewarm, it must bring the fire. That is what Daaimah Mubashshir has done.
— Stacey Rose
a pageant/poem. luxuriant. o please
stage this blaze faceted jewel.
— Honor Moore
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Daaimah Mubashshir is based in NYC. Awards include a 2019 Core Writer Fellowship at The Playwrights Center (MN), a 2018 Audrey Residency (New Georges), a MacDowell Colony Fellowship, a Catwalk Institute Residency, and a Foundation of Contemporary Arts Emergency Grant. Other published works include The Zero Loop (No Tokens Journal), Come with Me - Solve for X in The Occasional 2, edited by Will Arbery (53rd State Press), and Molasses and A Blue Coat (Kenyon Review). www.daaimahmubashshir.com