Artistic Statement

Artistic Statement

Life is performance. The roles are practically self-evident. Any stroll down the (virtual or actual) aisles of Macy’s or will show you the costumes. We will often construct our own sets, although sometimes we can’t, or won’t. We will assume we know the characters of others, although often we are wrong. We will argue over the script. The language of performance finds a home in many facets of daily life.

Yet something still feels absent.

Theatre is also a performance. It makes no attempt to hide this. However, when done correctly, this performance, having acknowledged itself as such, becomes free to explore the performances of life. Ideally, this exploration leads to the unveiling of the real, which is often intangible in what I’ll call Life Performance. In Life Performance, no one can reach out and touch “luck” in the same way one could touch, say, a desk. Stage Performance, though, has many tactile forms of “luck”: the character of “Lucky” in Waiting for Godot, the stamp collection in Mauritius, stopping someone from saying “Macbeth” on a stage. Once Stage Performance makes tangibly present what is absent from Life Performance, audiences can use that moment or object or character as a springboard to debate the accuracy of our understanding of this absence. Through this discussion, audiences derive empathy, closeness, catharsis.

I employ this logic in my own plays. Each script starts with an image. Each image starts with something that is not an image: a feeling, a sensation, an emotion. I am so struck by this leap – from emotion to image, from absent to present – that the ensuing play usually follows characters who are on their way to making that jump, from absent to present, or from present to absent. Therefore, the seed image for my plays usually turns out to be its final tableau: a moment where the characters become something more, where they shed their presence and evaporate into the ether, or put on the concrete that will nail them into reality.

My goal is that this moment will make audiences turn to one another, questioning what they saw. I want to start a discussion. I want to make theatre that gives the audience the presence of something that has long been absent from their lives, and let that presence linger in their minds. I want that presence to change perception, so that audiences’ preconceived borders start to disappear, the same way the border between reality and otherworldly disappear for my characters, the same way the border between actual and imagined disappear for me every time I write a play.

I want this tear-down of borders to start a chain reaction of discussion in the spirit of empathy, education, and compassion, thereby making some of the ultimate absences – “joy,” “unity,” “humanity,” “humility” – uniquely present in my audience.