Artistic Statement

Artistic Statement

I write to excavate. My writing burrows under surfaces that have been tread on, but rarely dug into—my writing stems from a desire to unearth a truth; a coarse and unpolished truth. The kind of truth that takes years to find and decades to confront. The kind of truth that releases itself in tight whispers at church or screaming matches at the dinner table. The kind of truth that stings like finally tearing off a hangnail.
As a product of adoption from Albania, I’ve always grown up with the knowledge that the people who have my hands, my nose, or my eyes will never see me again. Part of my past will remain forever hidden, forever imperceptible. This is why I write to understand the stories of others—the buried truths. This is why I write about family. My plays highlight parenthood and the sense of responsibility a family has to one another. My plays feature transactional love. My plays feature virulent love. My plays feature undiluted, scalding, screaming love. All of it in the name of family.
My writing smells like gasoline and burnt matches and lavender. It feels like plodding into shallow water at high tide, and just standing there, waiting. My characters are the love children of Joan Miró’s paintings, Alexander Calder’s mobiles, and every Sufjan Stevens song I’ve heard. They’re soldered to each other, suspended from reality, but still delicate enough to break. My characters know how a communion wafer tastes and never agree on what it represents. The characters in my writing can’t decide whether they want damnation or salvation, often deserving neither. The characters in my writing are mothers of murderers and fathers of self-appointed vigilantes, split between both the memories and the sins of their children, forever distended and disfigured by them.
What my writing excavates isn’t a fossil of something long-dead. My writing excavates the dusty childhood photo albums, the odd and unexplainable loyalty to high school football teams, the hangovers spiraled into toilet bowls, and the ways a home can be bomb shelter or minefield. My plays scoop out the inhumane, the sickening, and present them as they are—unceasingly human and surreal.