Artistic Statement

Artistic Statement

There are a few thru-lines that are fairly consistent in my work:

First, I am almost always inspired by something in real life -- an event, a story, a person, a conflict, an issue -- that immediately asks to be dramatized or that gestates for months or years until an engaging dramatic idea is hatched. For example, HUMAN RITES was inspired by an academic paper by the pioneer of cultural psychology that turned my head around. TWO JEWS WALK INTO A WAR... was inspired by an article in the New York Times detailing the sad and absurd story of the last two Jews living in Afghanistan (which was also the inspiration for two other plays!). MISSING LINK was inspired by the tragic crash of TWA Flight 800 in 1996, in which an entire French class of middle schoolers from Pennsylvania was killed. THE SPACE BETWEEN US was inspired by a fascinating book, "Naked By the Window," detailing the true life marriage of artists Carl Andre and Ana Mendieta.

Second, I am interested in how and why people come to believe what they believe, and what would shake or further affirm that foundation of belief. For example, in THE THREE CHRISTS OF MANHATTAN, an atheist, Jewish psychiatrist becomes the focus of three patients, each of which believe themselves to be Jesus Christ, as they seek to save her soul...if she will accept them as her savior. In REINVENTING EDEN, a brilliant yet bull-headed genetic scientist is forced to face the unanticipated personal consequences of his visionary risk-taking.

Third, my plays are typically driven by a question that I am trying to answer. In BLACK GOLD, the question is what would happen if an incredibly valuable resource was discovered in a highly neglected community? In MISSING LINK, the question is what do you believe in when the inexplicable and the unthinkable happens to you? And in TWO JEWS, the question is why would anyone stay in a place that has been inhospitable and hostile to you, your family and your community for generations? I actually write the play to find my answer, which is always more satisfying than knowing the answer in advance.

Beyond those tent poles, I am a big fan of surprise; subverting audience expectations about a character's arc or where the play is headed. I enjoy juxtaposing the high brow and the low brow (as in A PASSING WIND and TWO JEWS). And I enjoy challenging generally liberal theatre audiences to consider their values and assumptions (like I do in HUMAN RITES and THREE CHRISTS).