Playwright Andrew Black
Writer / Leia Barker
“There are certain doors that close as you get older, but the great thing about art is that door is always open,” states Andrew Black, who earned his MFA in playwriting at the age of 52 from Ohio University.
Since graduating from Lawrence Central High School and Indiana University, Andrew left Indiana in 1978 and moved to San Francisco. After more than 30+ years of living on the west coast, he decided to move back to the Hoosier state in 2012.
“My parents were aging and this provided an opportunity to be involved in their care,” shares Black, who is a corporate leadership and development consultant as well as a playwright. “I also learned a lot about myself as I decided to move back. Indianapolis is a very affordable city, especially after being in San Francisco over three decades.”
After returning to Indianapolis, long time family friend Eileen Ackman encouraged Black write plays. She was 90 years old at the time and Black, being quite fond of her, listened.
Black wrote to Barbara Shoup, the director of The Indiana’s Writers Center, and asked if it offered playwriting workshops. The center didn’t offer any, so Black was offered the opportunity.
“In San Francisco, if you throw a quarter out the window, it hits two playwrights before it hits the ground,” jokes Black, who saw his first play produced in 2003 in San Diego.
In the fall of 2012, Black taught a beginners class and had three students in the class, all of whom were older than 60. Now he instructs two classes, beginning and advanced, both capped at 14 students.
“The Indiana Writers Center is so fortunate to have Andy Black on its faculty,” states Indiana Writers Center Executive Director Barbara Shoup. “He is an extraordinary teacher who draws his playwriting students into the real world of the theater. And now they have the opportunity to celebrate his work by supporting this production of his new play, ‘Puppet Man.’ I’m really looking forward to seeing it myself.”
“Puppet Man” will be performed at the Theater on The Square beginning January 12. The play is inspired by events that took place in a prison in northern Ohio at the North Central Correctional Institute. Inmates’ families, including children, would visit one day a month. An arts director inspired the creation of a puppet theater to perform for the children. The protagonist is an inmate, Pretty Boy, who joins the puppet group in order to steal items to feed his drug habit. But once he gets into the group he makes a puppet who begins to develop her own ideas about how things should be. Pretty Boy begins to learn about creativity, teamwork, and making appropriate choices, which are things he never knew about before. He then begins to wonder about the kinds of choices he’s currently making.
In addition to his own productions, Andrew lends his talents to the Indiana Repertory Theatre and is involved with the Indy Fringe Festival.
For ticket information for Puppet Man, please visit tots.org/2016-2017-season/.