Regina Taylor — raised in Oak Cliff, a graduate of Southern Methodist University — is best known for her acting in such films as Lean On Me and in several TV series, notably I’ll Fly Away (Golden Globe Award) and The Unit. But she’s been writing plays for almost two decades. Crowns, her musical about African-American women and their best, head-topping finery, was the most produced musical in the country in 2006.
In fact, Crowns was presented by the Dallas Theater Center in its 2005-’06 season — in a production directed by Taylor. But The Trinity River Plays, running through December 5th at the Wyly, is Taylor’s first drama to premiere in her hometown (in a co-production with the Goodman Theater in Chicago, where Taylor is an artistic associate). The Trinity River Plays are three, related one-acts following the young writer, Iris, as she matures, returns to Oak Cliff to discover her mother is dying — and must contend with the sexual and generational tensions she tried to escape.
We talk to Taylor about the development of The Trinity River Plays, attending SMU, her play’s title and the topography of Dallas, any autobiographical echoes and the play’s food content.