Artistic Statement

Artistic Statement

Please see the following list, entitled: Possibly The Most Impactful Theatrical Moments of My Young Life.

•3 years old: watched roving troupe of actors perform Shakespearean mash-ups in local community garden with random props pulled from a gym bag.
•6 years old: went to see older brother play the Boy in Godot at NYU where father was on faculty. Dad built the sets. Landscape looked like Mars.
•9 years old: saw father act for the first time in production of comedy called Amorphous George. Most potent memory of play is that it took place in one location and father’s character refused to wear shoes inside the house.

On the off chance that three bullet points about childhood memories is not enough to understand what I’m trying to do with my work, here are some additional thoughts:

I’ve always felt that the story dictates its own telling. Some of my plays are epic, non-chronological, filled with characters and powered by coincidence. Some of my plays are unified, totally linear and driven by psychologically complex characters motivated by unconscious forces. I tend to bounce back and forth between these two formal extremes, while continuing to revisit the same core ideas: physical and spiritual ownership; codependency and fetish; and the destructive role of power in intimate relationships.

No matter the form, my plays tend to be surprisingly and uncomfortably funny. Over the years, I’ve learned that people get weird when they find themselves laughing at things they’ve been conditioned not to laugh at. I’ve also learned that I like to make people feel weird and also implicated. I want my plays to reflect back not just what is bright and hopeful about human nature but also what is fractured, frightened and flawed. Because it’s in spending time with the fractured, frightened and flawed parts of ourselves that we learn best how to be empathetic, understanding and human. And I think that’s what the theatre does better than any other art form: it teaches us how to be people in the world with other people.

The world I inhabit and wish to recreate on stage is rarely purely real or purely dream but exists somewhere in between. In my work, I like to bring these two opposites into close contact with one another often at the latest possible dramatic moment. It’s in this clash of extremes that characters find themselves, to borrow a phrase from another playwright who likes to mess with formal expectations, at the “threshold of revelation.”

Perhaps the early introduction to Shakespeare, to Beckett, to kitchen-sink realism has caused this internal creative mix-up in terms of form and tone and style. But trying to figure out the “why” is, I think, a far less interesting investigation than figuring out the “how.” Particularly when it comes to this art of enacted story telling.