Debora Threedy

Debora Threedy

I was born in Chicago and grew up in the northwest suburbs. Like many, I became involved in theatre in high school. I went on to major in theatre at Beloit College in Wisconsin, where I focused on acting and directing. After college, I stayed on at Beloit as a teaching assistant in the theatre department for a year, and then spent a year as a full-time company member at the New American Theatre in Rockford...
I was born in Chicago and grew up in the northwest suburbs. Like many, I became involved in theatre in high school. I went on to major in theatre at Beloit College in Wisconsin, where I focused on acting and directing. After college, I stayed on at Beloit as a teaching assistant in the theatre department for a year, and then spent a year as a full-time company member at the New American Theatre in Rockford, Illinois. From there I auditioned for and was admitted into a conservatory acting program in Rochester , Michigan. While there I came to the realization that I was unsuited for the life of an actor (the job insecurity frightened me too much) and I decided to become a lawyer. My reasoning went like this: My father was a lawyer, I knew he enjoyed being a lawyer, and I was a lot like my father. Therefore, I guessed I would probably enjoy being a lawyer. So I went to law school at Loyola University of Chicago, did very well (tied for first place at graduation), and became a junior associate at a very large, very sophisticated firm -- where I discovered I did not enjoy being a lawyer, although I enjoyed the law. I switched gears and became a law professor at the University of Utah (which is the only public law school in the state and not to be confused with the law school run by the LDS Church), and there found a profession I enjoy. My legal research tends to be in a category best described as “outsider jurisprudence.” I am fascinated by the way marginalized social groups, whether the group be women, or racial and ethnic minorities, or disadvantaged socio-economic classes, have been oppressed by law but also, paradoxically, have used law as a tool for reform. For the ten years while I was in law school and in private practice, I did almost no theatre. While in law school, I did not have the time, and in practice, I did not have control over my schedule and so could never commit to a show’s run. Once I became a law professor and had a predictable schedule, I again became involved in professional and semi-professional theatre in Salt Lake City. I enjoyed some success here as an actress, including roles at Salt Lake Acting Company, and I directed a couple of shows, but eventually discovered that I was more drawn to writing plays. I have written plays on and off since I was young – in fact, I wrote my first play before I had ever seen a live theatrical production (I have no idea where the inspiration to do that came from). In the last fifteen years I have come to focus my theatre life almost exclusively on playwriting.

Plays

  • The Third Crossing
    The Third Crossing deals with race in America. More specifically, it deals with inter-racial sexual relationships and the impact our society’s prejudices have on those who dare to love across the color line. It also deals with how the offspring of inter-racial relationships trouble our conceptions of racial identity and the price of "passing". A theatrical collage of scenes and monologues, the...
    The Third Crossing deals with race in America. More specifically, it deals with inter-racial sexual relationships and the impact our society’s prejudices have on those who dare to love across the color line. It also deals with how the offspring of inter-racial relationships trouble our conceptions of racial identity and the price of "passing". A theatrical collage of scenes and monologues, the narrative arc of the play centers on the story of the “founding couple” of inter-racial relationships, Tom Jefferson and Sally Hemings. But the play includes a number of other viewpoints and stories that comment on or reflect in some way that “founding story.” There are scenes based on lectures by a feminist scholar studying Sally Hemings, excerpts from actual trials for violations of anti-miscegenation laws, a conversation with the plaintiffs in the historic case that struck down such laws, a survivor's memories of a hate crime, and others.
  • Balthazar
    What if, when Portia goes to court against Shylock, it's not the first time she has cross-dressed? The play explores the "back story" of Portia's cross-dressing and her introduction to the law, as she rebels against the gender constraints of Renaisance Italy with advice and instruction from her lawyer cousin, Bellario, who is also a gender/sexual outsider. It follows the progression of...
    What if, when Portia goes to court against Shylock, it's not the first time she has cross-dressed? The play explores the "back story" of Portia's cross-dressing and her introduction to the law, as she rebels against the gender constraints of Renaisance Italy with advice and instruction from her lawyer cousin, Bellario, who is also a gender/sexual outsider. It follows the progression of Merchant of Venice, but all of the scenes occur "offstage" from Shakespeare's play, as Portia matures from a naive girl experiencing her first crush to a married woman struggling to understand the sexual and emotional complexities of commitment in a non-traditional relationship.