Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks was on the founding fathers beat long before Lin-Manuel Miranda. In 1993, she wrote the America Play, which took Abraham Lincoln as its subject.

Now she’s turned her focus on Thomas Jefferson. She will preview a new historical play called Sally and Tom, about Thomas Jefferson and his slave Sally Hemings, alongside two other recent works this Saturday at the Vineyard Arts Project.

“Looking back at history is sort of my jam,” Ms. Parks said. Though this focus pigeonholed her somewhat, she said it’s not such a bad spot to be in right now. “I’m glad that Hamilton has come along and made it trendy, because now I can sort of enjoy that.”

She understands history as an ongoing dialogue extending from the past into the present—a fitting approach for a playwright. “As an African American woman, I have an interesting conversation going on in my head with people like Thomas Jefferson,” she said. “It’s not, as a lot of people would think, wagging my African American female finger at him and taking him to task.”

That would be boring, she said, and she is anything but.

“Sally and Tom is a very joyful play about us. It’s not about history, it’s about us,” she said.

Her other two works on the program for Saturday are excerpts from a contemporary play called The Germ and a story-song cycle that she will perform with her band Sula and the Noise.

The Germ follows four friends living in a city and experiencing life problems. Ms. Parks said that like most of her work, the play is character driven. The story-song cycle, she said, focuses on her family. Ms. Parks will play guitar and sing, and interspersed through the performance she will relate anecdotes to the audience.

Sitting at the dining room table inside the Vineyard Arts Project’s shingled Edgartown arts facility and residence, where she has lived since Sunday, Ms. Parks hesitated to offer too many details about the upcoming performance. “Water boils best if you leave the lid on,” she explained.

The lid’s been on for over a year now. Ms. Parks said she drafted both plays last year. At the same time, she was writing two movies, a musical, rehearsing for a retrospective at the Signature Theatre, and playing with her band. “I sort of have a stove with several burners, you know, like a professional cook,” she said.

It was around lunchtime at the Vineyard Arts Project and Ms. Parks’ metaphors revealed a bit of her mind.

But Ms. Parks’ relationship to cooking is almost entirely rhetorical. “I can cook three things really well,” Ms. Parks said. “Popcorn, instant coffee, and what’s my other thing?” she asked. Her husband, Christian Konopka, who also plays in her band, came to her aid, reminding her of the dish—tortellini, broccoli and sausage.

“When it’s an emergency,” Ms. Parks added. “That’s the thing, you know your limits. You know what your strengths are, and you play to your strengths, and you’re okay with sharing the responsibilities for the day-to-day.”

She delegates, focusing on writing over producing and acting. Her position at New York’s Public Theater as master writer chair allows her to maintain this focus. A cast of actors and directors from the Public Theater are also currently in residency at Vineyard Arts Project.

When Ms. Parks heads back to the mainland, she will continue to workshop the plays at the Public Theater and keep up with her various other projects. She just completed an adaptation of Native Son by Richard Wright and a screenplay about Billie Holiday. Her band performs regularly.

“Every writer should also have a band,” she declared.

Bear in mind that Ms. Parks got her start as a playwright in a class she took with James Baldwin who suggested she try it out based on what she described as a “very animated” reading of a short story in class.

To continue the cooking metaphor, she seems never to run out of gas. She works until she sleeps at 1 or 2 a.m. and resumes when she wakes up around 6 or 7 a.m.

“I nap in the afternoon,” she said. “I take naps, so it all works.”

The Public Theater will perform Suzan-Lori Parks’ latest work at the Vineyard Arts Project on Saturday, August 26 at 7 pm.