Artistic Statement

Artistic Statement

Theater for me is highly political, but in the most intensely personal way. I shy away from plays that shout "this an outrage!" Instead, I tell stories of ordinary people trapped in extraordinary circumstances. I allow my audiences to develop an attachment to certain characters, then slap them back with the revelation that their favorite is failing out fear--a fear they share. And would their choices be any different?

My early work was called impressionistic because many of the plays built on a series or images or encounters that worked on the audience in a cumulative way--the way you would parse a family's history by sifting through an old album. Recently I've taken to experimenting with familiar forms--a sex comedy, a murder mystery, a psychological thriller--which I subvert through manipulation of expectation. The woman at the center of DIRTY PICTURES has a severe physical disability--but she is loved and lusted over by the men around her in defiance of cultural definitions of beauty. In A GRAND DESIGN a murder mystery mashes up with a comedy of manners, in which high-strung, spoiled suburbanites second-guess their life choices when they find themselves in the cross-hairs of a serial sniper. Each of these plays is a critique of American culture--its obsession with image and privilege, its fundamental sexism, implicit racism, and violence. But regardless of how serious the subject matter, the plays are infused with humor. In my work, tragedy and comedy exist side by side because they exist that way in life. I never to try to separate them, and I have come to trust the sudden intrusion of a sober discovery into a comedic scene. The play is funny until it isn't--and at that point, the larger questions are revealed.