“Intimate Chaos,” which had a successful run last year at Society Hill Playhouse, is the only LGBT-themed production in the festival. Clarke said she hopes the play will find new fans on its return engagement in Philadelphia.
“It’s a good opportunity to get folks in who wouldn’t normally come out to see it, especially on a festival like this, which is geared to the African-American community at large,” she said. “We will be able to attract some patrons who may have otherwise not come out. The last time we were here in Philadelphia, it went really well. We had a great reception to it.”
Based on Clarke’s third novel, “Intimate Chaos” explores the rocky friendship and romantic relationship between two strong-willed women.
Clarke said that while most of her novels and the characters in them are inspired by observing other people’s mannerisms and quirks, this particular story has elements from her life.
“Sometimes it’s personal, oftentimes it’s not,” she said of her novels. “With ‘Intimate Chaos,’ it’s a very old story, so back then I was probably drawing more on personal experience than I do now.”
Clarke added that when she wrote the novel, she didn’t plan on bringing the story to the stage.
“‘Intimate Chaos’ ended up becoming a stage production because the demand was there,” she said. “I did not write that with the intention of doing anything more with it than having it being a novel. But because I got a lot of requests for it over time and a lot of folks wanted to see these characters come to life, I decided to go ahead and turn it into a stage play. The first time it went up on stage was in 2007.”
Now, when it comes to new novels, Clarke said she has other media in mind.
“Going forward now with my current and future works, I do write some of them thinking that this may end up in another medium, be it staged for live theater, film, webisode series or shorts. I’m working on the screenplay for my most recent novel, ‘Losing Control.’ The film crew is ready to go as soon as I am ready to go. ‘Intimate Chaos’ kind of drew me away from that. It kind of got me off schedule. The goal is to enter it in a lot of film festivals when it’s in the can and ready to go.”
Even with her upcoming film project heating up, Clarke said she plans to keep her literary pursuits going.
“I will be releasing a short-story series next year,” she said. “I’m working on that right now. It’ll be released in six parts as an e-book at first and then I will compile them all into a physical book for sale.”
She added that she plans to have more male characters in her future works.
“I’m going to be a lot more inclusive with men,” she said. “That’s something I have been really wanting to do. There’s going to be a lot more men, whether they’re gay or bisexual. I just wanted to be sure that I am representing them as well. A big thing with me in my future projects is that I want them to be more well-rounded and more balanced in regard to gender. I want to open up that box and have more dynamic friendships and character relationships.”
The Philly Urban Theatre Festival presents “Intimate Chaos” at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 30-Oct. 2 at Adrienne Theater, 2030 Sansom St. For more information, visit www.cherilnclarke.com or www.putf.org.
Larry Nichols can be reached at email@example.com.