Artistic Statement

Artistic Statement

We can know and not care, we can’t care and not respond. When I was a young acting student, I got the most crushing note ever on a scene I was particularly proud of: “I believed you, but I didn’t care.” In retrospect, that one note was worth every dollar that the MFA cost. It’s the thing I have never forgotten, that credibility alone, while important, is insufficient to the task at hand. The brain feels no pain. Credibility alone does not move an audience. While it may be true that I think, therefore I am, it is also true that I feel, therefore I act. Everyone is a storyteller. We create narrative, we spin tales, and we usually don’t even realizing that we are doing it. The most important thing for a playwright is to create the context for the audience to find themselves immersed in the world of the play, to feel it, to make it their story. When people see their lives, they care. Whether or not the characters look like them or not, whether the world those characters inhabit is strange or familiar, when they see themselves they have a way into the play. If I had to find a common element in my plays, it would most likely revolve around the idea that we are who we have been, that our past is not behind us, it is under our feet, that we stand on and are rooted in it, that it is the inescapable context of our actions. Of course, it is expressed in many different ways, but that idea is always present. Our present rings with resonances from our past, and our actions are often as much the result of conditioning than volition. If we can have our conditioning challenged, if we can have the opportunity to see and feel and think critically about how we are in the world, laugh at ourselves, weep for ourselves, groan and gasp and shake our heads at the things we do, then we have the chance to be better people. And the journey toward that end becomes richer and fuller.