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Robert Wallace “The Next Event” Performance

Join us for a performance as part of the For The Public group exhibition at Local Project. See full details about the For The Public exhibition.

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The Next Event is about James Lee Mass, a failed author living in Long Island, New York during the year 1985. Mass lost his nine-year-old daughter, Ava, due to pneumonia. Unable to cope with this loss, James’ personal and professional life deteriorates. He passively watches the dissolution of his marriage as he is incapable of picking up the pieces. With slowing book sales, and the lack of will to create anything new, he quickly finds himself spiraling into a deep depression with thoughts of suicide. James Lee Mass is a dark and deeply complex character, and throughout the play he addresses the emotional battles that some people fight within themselves everyday. What makes this play so innovative is the breaking of the fourth wall in which the audience is asked to transition from a passive viewer to an active participant. The audience members play the role of the concerned neighbor and are taken through a journey addressing topics such as family, religion, politics, love and death. I am a Brooklyn native, who was classically trained in Theatre at North Carolina Central University; committed to developing an aesthetic, as a writer, that sits in a liminal space between Theatre and Film. I am not only a thespian, but a playwright, screenwriter, director, producer, auteur, and poet. I intend to redefine the way in which pain is consumed and understood. My approach is through a mode of writing that reconfigures rules that have historically repressed the artist; to challenge the conditions of the fourth wall through a radical re-imagining of monologues, utilizing the platform of a one-man show. My writing practice is informed by performative disciplines; interrogating the conventions of theatre and film. Borrowing from the directional effects of storytelling and narration – live and on screen – I write fictional prose, often taking the form of a One-man show, a solo performance, or a durational monologue. My approach to writing comes from a desire to stage and script the intimacies of life’s rituals, often marrying the fantastical world of theatre and film with quotidian reality. I lean into experimental forms of playwriting and screenwriting by intermixing past and present; writing from a confluence of the spiritual and lyrical. I am concerned with utilizing my viewpoints and experiences in a way that will transcend the minds of the world, in order to reconfigure how to better be of service for mental and interpersonal concerns. Many have ignored these matters out of ignorance and defeat. As artists, we have the license to tell stories in an ethical manner. I believe writing can position the reader within a context that brings awareness to mental wellbeing; which is most commonly mishandled by the nature of psychology; as well as ironically overlooked by the very resources designed to address these conditions. My writing solidifies my position as an artist; attacking stigmas often tethered historically to those who are disenfranchised. I aim to not only destigmatize these issues, but to present them in a manner in which they have yet to be conveyed, in order to engrace them. We, as artists, are somewhat politicians, using our platform to address the many challenges of our lives. My writing expands on concerns within mental health, propelling us as a community in a direction of true liberation from the constructs of ignorance. The purpose of my writing is to impact the ideology of people in society in regards to mental wellness.

Biography Website | Youtube Robert Wallace is a Brooklyn native, who was classically trained in Theatre at North Carolina Central University. He is committed to developing an aesthetic that sits in a liminal space between Theatre and Film. Robert has starred in four independent films, and has borrowed from his academic experiences to propel himself in the world of picture-making. “I am of those that came before all of us.” His practice focuses on the format of a One-Man Show as an apparatus to explore the politics of black masculinity. His most recent experimental theatre work “The First Lefty,” was presented as part of Art In Odd Places (2021). He is also the auteur of a sold-out one-man play entitled “The Next Event” that was presented independently in 2017 at the historic Gene Frankel Theatre in New York City. Robert is not only a thespian, but a playwright, screenwriter, director, producer, and poet.

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