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“I think she likes the way that sounds, and I get that,” he said. “I’m also obsessed with the way people use language. We’re poetic beings. People say things that make me go wow. Sometimes I feel like just I’m a collector of tossed-off stories. I’m recording and ear-hustling, as they say.”
Gardley went to San Francisco State University intent on pre-med coursework when he took courses — African-American studies, dramatic literature — that changed his life.
He later earned an MFA from the Yale School of Drama, where he overlapped with another theatrical wunderkind, Tarell Alvin McCraney.
“I gave Tarell his tour when he was first interested in Yale,” he said. “They used to call us the wonder twins.”
Gardley has had a career marked by success. He teaches playwriting at Brown University. Another staging of “The Road Weeps” is in rehearsals in Los Angeles, where his musical, “Song of Paradise,” is about to open. His play, “dance of the holy ghosts: a play on memory,” which was partly developed at the Playwrights Center in Minneapolis, opens at Baltimore’s Centerstage Oct. 9. Gardley’s “Gospel of Lovingkindness” premieres at Chicago’s Victory Gardens Theatre in February, while his Lorca-based play, “The House That Will Not Stand,” premieres at the Yale Repertory Theatre in April.
Gardley’s many prizes include the Helen Merrill Award, a Kesselring Honor and ASCAP’s Cole Porter Award.
Not bad for someone who did not see his first play until college. Still, there’s something restless in his spirit.
“There are so many stories, so many great stories to tell,” he said. “I just want to capture them all.”
Rohan Preston • 612-673-4390