Brooklyn, NY — Kimberly La Force entered the bachelor’s degree program in nursing at New York City College of Technology (City Tech) with one year as a Registered Nurse already under her belt. She graduated as a soon-to-be-published playwright (with her degree, of course).
“Writing of any form has been like therapy for me,” says the 28-year-old resident of Bedford Stuyvesant, who had written a few prose pieces and poems, but never a play before she took City Tech Professor Jane Mushabac’s Creative Writing class.
La Force’s short play, “A Marriage Proposal,” is included in the anthology The Best American Short Plays 2010-2011, published by Applause Theatre & Cinema Books, August 2012.
“Professor Mushabac challenged us to write a courtship play as an assignment,” she explained. “I wanted to write a play that would reflect the conversations about marriage that are discussed in soft tones or behind closed doors.”
La Force, who was an international student from the Caribbean island of St. Lucia while a student at City Tech, said her play touches on many issues surrounding reasons for marriage other than traditional Western perspectives. “Some of these issues include men and women’s different perspectives on marriage, the use of marriage as a pathway for U.S. citizenship and marriage as a commodity,” she explains.
The majority of the play was written using experiences of people La Force knew. Some aspects, however, required research to give the play validity. For example, she had to find out the order of Baptist church services and which programs are available for immigrant naturalization.
Professor Mushabac, who directed the play at City Tech’s 2011 Literary Arts Festival and encouraged La Force to submit it to the book’s editor, couldn’t be more pleased by her student’s accomplishment. “This anthology has been the standard of excellence for one-act plays in the U.S. for more than 70 years. I’m proud that Kimberly is being recognized as a new, cutting-edge playwright.”
A 2011 graduate of City Tech, La Force will begin the Master of Science degree program in Narrative Medicine at Columbia University in Spring 2013. “Before studying at City Tech, I was intent on continuing along the clinical pathway in nursing,” she explained. “But the professors at the College helped me to discover a passion for writing and they have nurtured that passion.”
“My professional goals in nursing are now merged with this new-found talent,” she adds. “I’d like to write stories and scenarios for medical professionals to teach them how to communicate better with patients. That way, I can play a role in improving health care in the U.S.”
New York City College of Technology (City Tech) of The City University of New York (CUNY) is the largest public college of technology in New York State. Located at 300 Jay Street in Downtown Brooklyn, the College enrolls more than 16,000 students in 62 baccalaureate, associate and specialized certificate programs.