Artistic Statement

Artistic Statement

My plays are all varied in tone and style, but there are a few things they all have in common:
- Female and/or Queer Centered Stories
- Quick, Naturalistic Dialogue
- Blood and/or Snack Food

Female and/or Queer Centered Stories: As a queer woman myself, it’s admittedly very easy to write stories about women, queer folks, or a combination of the two. However, I also think that representation in these two fields is lacking. Strides have been made, yes, but there is still a ways to go. Too often women and queer people are relegated to the sidekick, the love interest, the best friend. I want to see more of our authentic, non-tokenized stories onstage. For example, Missed Opportunities is a queer, modern update of the classic “mistaken identity” comedy. I wanted to take how queer folks are often seen in our world, and turn those ideas on their heads. The straight woman checks all the boxes of a “typical” lesbian, the actual lesbian checks none of them, and there is a not a “Gay Best Friend”, but rather a best friend, who happens to be gay.

Quick, Naturalistic Dialogue: Much like I want the people onstage to be actual human beings, I want them to talk the way actual human beings talk. Quick paced, conversational dialogue has become a staple of my work. And, if the world of the play allows, as many pop culture references as possible. The way we talk to each other is shaped by the world we live in, and I like seeing that reflected onstage. In (Non)Fiction, audiences immediately connect with and understand our main couple, Mike and Stephanie, through the way they talk to each other. Their lived-in rapport reflects their easy, comfortable, relationship. But as their relationship starts to crumble, the pauses, stutters, and “ums” in their conversations reveal just as much as the quick banter did.

Blood and/or Snack Food: I say this half-jokingly, (but only half), as this aspect of my work was unintentional until it was pointed out to me. But one (or both) of these elements is present in every single one of my plays. I’m an Advanced Actor Combatant with the Society of American Fight Directors, so I can appreciate the elevated storytelling a fight can bring to a play, and the right blood effect is a sure-fire way to bring your audience viscerally into the story. As for the food, I don’t know about you all, but some of my favorite moments have been times shared with friends and family over food. I also think it brings a naturalism to the story – you feel like you are in the room with them. One of my favorite parts of sitting in the audience during the run of Small World was hearing the reactions to the blood effects. Whether it was the spray of blood from the ceiling, or a pool of blood from a dying character trickling down the raked stage, it brought people to the edge of their seats. If I could have had those characters eating some Mickey Ice Cream Bars, I would have. But, I guess everyone will just have to settle for the pizza, ice cream, Twinkies, cereal, and cookies (to name a few) found in Missed Opportunities or (Non)Fiction.

In summary, while my work and these themes may appear disconnected on the surface, when you get down to it, all of them are tools I use to bring an audience into the world of the play. Whether it’s through connecting with a character that is actually like them, or through a realistic blood effect, it all serves the purpose of connecting people more viscerally to my work. And if I’ve done that, then I consider my job done.