An Issue of Blood Credit: Michael Courier

Chay Yew to Marcus Gardley

It was December 2014, and playwright Marcus Gardley was trying to complete the latest draft of his new play A Wonder in My Soul in advance of its April world premiere at Victory Gardens Theater. Gardley was having a hard time, though: our country’s racial heartache was getting to him. “I was watching the news about what’s going on in Ferguson, and Eric Garner, and Trayvon Martin,” he told Playbill, “and all of these people are stewing in my spirit.” With only four months to go until the first preview, Gardley nevertheless felt the need to stop work on the play Victory Gardens was expecting and start in on an entirely new one. He went to the company’s artistic director, Chay Yew (who was also slated to direct A Wonder in My Soul), and told him what he had in mind. And what was Yew’s reply? Did he laugh and say “You’ve just got the jitters, kid. Get back to work”? Did he swear up and down? No. Yew said OK. So Gardley wrote An Issue of Blood, a play about the literal, legal beginnings of racism in America. Given the rush to production it wasn’t quite what it might’ve been, but it was an intriguing piece of work—and a great demonstration of faith.