Artistic Statement

Artistic Statement

As an artist, I strive to create universal stories that are nuanced, populated by people with eclectic identities, and true to myself. While all of my characters don’t possess the specific traits that make me who I am--after all, how many plays could I write about half-Ukrainian, half-Dominican, socially anxious queer men--my vantage point of observing the world from a few different liminal spaces informs who and what I choose to write about.

The betweenness that is characteristic of my identity is present in the characters I create. I am biracial and, instead of feeling connected to each part of my heritage, I often find myself hesitant to claim a seat at any particular cultural table. Similarly, I find myself struggling to define what it means to be part of the queer community, feeling apart from stereotypical “gay male culture.” While my life experiences sitting on the sidelines of already marginalized communities have, at times, compounded my feelings of being an outsider, they have also forced me to find truth and empathy for more humans than I might have felt as “simply” an American man, or a Dominican man, or a white man, or a gay man. I am attuned to the narratives of people who live at the fringes of various communities, and my goal is to represent those intersectional voices in my work.

Literature, the arts, and media are all full of deftly rendered human portraits that are supposed to be universal, but that actually exclusively focus on white experiences or cis experiences or straight experiences in disguise of the "universal." To comprehend the universal poignancy of small "universal" stories old and new, from Wilder’s OUR TOWN to Elizabeth Strout’s OLIVE KITTEREDGE, POC, queer people, and members of other marginalized groups need to do some degree of mental-emotional gymnastics to empathize and map those works onto our lives. There is, of course, nothing wrong with the existence of such stories, but why don’t we force those of “the norm” to do that same mode-shifting to understand a world other than their own? It is time to spotlight storytellers who make keenly observed and subtle portraits of humanity that focus on a diverse populations. I want to help America to rethink who gets “everyday stories” told about them.

I seek to write plays that dare people not to find universal truth in a life experience or narrative they never thought they would relate to. I seek to write unexpected small stories that ring with undeniable human truth.