Kenyatt Godbolt poses with family after winning the 2022 Playwrights Festival
Matthews Playhouse of the Performing Arts is proud to present “A House is Not a Home”, an original play written by Kenyatt Godbolt, August 19-28, 2022. The two-act play is the winner of the 2022 BIPOC Playwrights’ Festival, a collaboration with the African American Playwrights Group (AAPG) and Matthews Playhouse. The annual festival is part of a our initiative to promote Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the Charlotte Theatre community by highlighting original works by Black & Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC).
Set in New York City in the 1990s, “A House is Not a Home” explores the dynamics between father and son, hip-hop culture and the consequences of divorce. According to the data from the United States Census Bureau, the divorce rate is higher among Black families than other Americans. “This fact of life for Blacks in America causes many of us to remain single and/or become single parents. It causes many of our children to struggle at school,” says Mr. Godbolt. “It causes too many of our children to engage in criminal activity.”
As a corrections officer for the City of New York, how long can David work before someone he loves is in there? Or are they already there? David is struggling to accept his role in the destruction of his family and marriage. Things take a turn for the worse when David invites his female friend to live with him and his twenty-year-old son.
Kenyatt M. Godbolt, M.S., CCC-SLP is a speech-language pathologist and owner of Godbolt Consultants, PLLC. Kenyatt currently resides in Concord, NC with his wife, Crystal, and two children, Samira and Kenyatt (KJ). We recently caught up with Kenyatt and asked him a few questions about his original work.
MP: What made you decide to change the title from "Nose Wide Open" to "A House Is Not A Home"?
I changed the title of the play based on the feedback I received after participating in the 2022 Playwrights’ Festival. While many audience members were entertained by the story, the consensus was clear as far as the title was concerned. As a result, I went back to the drawing board and brainstormed a list of possible titles. After talking with Andre Minkins, the director, I decided to go with “A House Is Not A Home” because that phrase really fits this story, and it’s a great song.
MP: I am told that you have a personal connection to the history of the song "A House Is Not A Home", could you describe in detail?
Like many power ballad lovers of my generation, we know this song because Luther Vandross killed his version of it back in the 1980’s. Although it was originally recorded by Dione Warwick in the 1960’s, Luther Vandross truly made this song his own in the eyes of many. My deceased uncle, Freddie Waits (1940 – 1989), was a well-known drummer who played with greats like Luther Vandross. Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, and most notably Ella Fitzgerald. Freddie Waits played with Ella Fitzgerald for many years. Here is a clip from YouTube of Ella singing A House Is Not A Home in 1969 with my uncle playing drums. My cousin, Nasheet Waits, is also a well-known drummer who carries the legacy of his father. Here is his website: www.nasheetwaits.com
MP: What inspired you to write this play and what do you hope the audience will take away from it?
The inspiration to write this play came from my life as well as the lives of those I love. These characters primarily come from my imagination, but they are loosely based on real people. I hope the audience leaves this play with a sense of gratitude and appreciation for family because this is ultimately a father and son play.
MP: What is your connection to The African American Playwrights Group?
I am a proud and elite member of The African American Playwrights Group. I initially became involved with the group after my one act play entitled Kings Without A Queen was accepted into the 2019 Atlanta Black Theatre Festival’s staged reading series. Since becoming a member, AAPG has been a great resource for me; and Vickie Evans, the founder, is a beacon of light. Her dedication to the group is appreciated. I have learned a ton about being a creative through my participation, and I look forward to continuing my relationship with the group.
MP: What inspired you to begin writing plays?
I was inspired to begin writing plays after performing and reading plays in high school. My family also inspired me to begin writing plays by providing an abundance of cultural enrichment. As a child, I played the piano and trumpet. My father was an avid reader who always made reading and knowing your history seem cool. My mom and her sister took me to a lot of museums, art exhibits and plays. In fact, my mom took me to see Fences by August Wilson on Broadway when it opened in the late 1980’s. Tickets were sold out for the shows with James Earl Jones as Troy. However, my mom managed to purchase tickets for the show with Billy Dee Williams playing the lead. Watching that play made me believe I could write a play, and Billy Dee was incredible as Troy.
MP: Anything else you would like for audiences to know?
My brother, his associates and I will be opening a speech and behavior clinic in the greater Charlotte area near the end of 2022. We will focus on speech and language therapy as well as applied behavior analysis. These services are in great need for our children with special needs. My brother, Dr. Qusayy Godbolt, PhD, BCBA-D, is a board-certified behavioral analyst. I am a licensed speech-language pathologist. We will be recruiting SLPA’s and RBT’s. For more information, I can be reached at email@example.com
Tickets for “A House Without a Home” are now on sale and can be purchased by going to www.matthewsplayhouse.com.
About The African American Playwrights Group
The African American Playwrights Group is a collaboration of African-American playwrights, whose mission is to produce quality and excellent theater works in our communities and abroad. Matthews Playhouse considers it a privilege to incorporate the Playwrights’ Festival (now in its second year) into our season and establish new relationships with community members.
About the Matthews Playhouse
The Matthews Playhouse of the Performing Arts is a community based non-profit theatre committed to enriching the lives of children, adults, and families by inviting them to participate
in the world of performing arts and education. We commit to this mission by ensuring the excellence of our cultural programs for the participation and enjoyment of the people in our community.