Artistic Statement

Artistic Statement

I believe plays should be two things: entertaining and truthful.

A good play should aspire to show an audience the humanity hidden within their enemies, the evil lying in their own heart, the joy brought by love, the panic induced by pride, and the possibility of life in the face of death. But while aiming for these heights, plays must fulfill certain basic goals. Plays must hold attention, generate laughs, create surprise, and foster empathy; a play must entertain. I believe it is only after I have fulfilled the basic requirements of entertainment that I may transport my audience to those strange places that terrify, inspire, and challenge.

But entertainment is nothing, if it means nothing. This is why I believe a good play must reveal something true. However, truth is a mutable, flickering phenomenon that sits deeply and uniquely for each person. No truth is shared universally. Bound by this, my goal is to bring an audience ever closer to a good story and allow each person to make the leap towards truth themselves. In this way, I feel my role as a writer is to guide, not force; show, not tell.

While the capacity to entertain and communicate truth are paramount to me as a writer, I don’t hold stock in any one type of play. Rather, I’ve tried to develop versatility so that each of my plays departs from the previous in tone, style, subject, character and narrative strategy. As a result, my work runs the gamut from naturalistic to fantastical, from verse to vernacular, from comedy to tragedy. However, one thread appears in all my plays: I’m always writing about home.

To me, home is a small town in Iowa. Two gas stations. No stoplights. Cornfields and cow pies. Gun fanatics and meth addicts.

My town isn’t special. No history book will crown its glory or crow its deeds. A hundred years from now the people I know will be nothing but crumbling graves with forgotten names. But this place is the raw matter I use to make my own mythology. So that a county fair is my Pharsalus. A basketball star, my Helen of Troy. And an abandoned truck stop off the highway, a sacred temple for gods and monsters.

And so I’ve found to write a play that entertains and tells the truth, I’m required to reach back in the recesses of my mind and tell of what I know of my home: the innocence and violence, the beauty and terror, the mundane and the mythic.