Artistic Statement: The Ugly Pretty

Amina Henry


As a playwright, I am a deep sea explorer. I see human nature as something to be mined, on deeper and deeper levels. But I am not just a deep sea explorer; I am a woman, I am Black, I am an American of Jamaican descent, I am single, and I am not a mother. I am a daughter, a sister, a friend, a teacher and a student. Sometimes I am an actress. I am most particular; I have a history that is wholly mine. Therefore, in my work, just as I am working outward with a metaphorical pick and shovel, I am also working inward, exploring what’s there. I acknowledge that I am a part of the world, not separate from it, and I acknowledge that I am messy and flawed and a constant work-in-progress. I would never claim to present the truth in my work, I present the “truth” as I see it at a particular moment in time from my particular perspective. My plays tend to explore gender, race, class, nationhood – all of the things that make up “identity”. They also explore exploitation and how hurt occurs. Why do people hurt other people? Why do they hurt themselves? And how do people survive the hurts that have been inflicted upon them?

Ugly Pretty is the connecting tissue of all of my work. I think that it describes my artistic process fairly accurately – I search for the Ugly and I also search for the Pretty, both in life and on stage. I present ugly truths with (hopefully) pretty words. I believe that humanity is deeply ugly and yet – and yet – there are moments of such breathtaking beauty.


Playwright Bio

Amina Henry is a poet-playwright who creates poetry for the stage. Recent productions include: Happily Ever at Brooklyn College, An American Family Takes a Lover, produced by The Cell: a 21stCentury Salon and presented by Theatre for the New City (New York, NY), Water produced by Drama of Works (Brooklyn, NY) and The Minstrel Show, produced as part of the 2013 Bring a Weasel and a Pint of Your Own Blood Festival 13th Street Theater/CSC. Her work has been developed/presented at: Little Theater at Dixon Place, Oregon Shakespeare Festival in the 2013 Black Swan Lab Series (Ashland, OR), Kitchen Dog Theater, The Brick, HERE Arts Center,The Cell: a 21st Century Salon, HERO Theatre, the Hive Theater, Shakespeare’s Sister Company, the Bowery Poetry Club and Brooklyn College. She was a 2012-2013 Core Apprentice playwright at ThePlaywrights Center and a 2013 Finalist for the Leah Ryan FEWW Playwriting Prize for her play Bully. She was a featured playwright at the2013 Black and Latino Playwrights Conference at Texas State University. Publications include Hello, My Name Is Joe in the compilation 24 Gun Control Plays, published by NoPassport Press. Amina Henry is a graduate of Yale University, NYU’s Performance Studies MA program and Brooklyn College’s MFA Playwriting program, lead by head weasels Mac Wellman and Erin Courtney.


5 thoughts on “About

    • Hi Rollo!

      I forwarded your question to the producers as I don’t know if it’ll be filmed. The ‘assignment’ I was given was to create a piece with cleverbot that would lend itself to a 10 minute play. I created a fairy tale with cleverbot and The Brick has directors and actors who are going to perform my piece, and 11 other pieces, later this month. The pieces are unedited conversations.


      • I was your TV Production teacher, Amina! I’m so happy you are doing well! I always knew you would! Many years ago, Gil Chimes told me he saw you at HBO. I’m glad I found you and so glad to see what you have achieved. You’re body of work is very impressive!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s