Artistic Statement

Artistic Statement

A family member once asked me, “Wouldn’t you be more successful as a writer if you weren’t writing about gay characters?” To which I can only answer, “Yes. But that’s not the point.” A (gay) director once asked me, “Is there a reason this character needs to be gay?” To which I can only counter-question “Can you tell my why the character shouldn’t be gay?” Yet another (gay) director recently asked me when was the last time I wrote a play without any gay characters in it, telling me I was "good enough" to write straight theater. It's become clear to me with each new play that I'm very likely writing these stories until we exist in a world where people stop asking me these questions. Given the current political climate nationally, and new incoming White House administration, that mission seems more urgent than it did even three months ago. During the Obama years, I've happily watched a couple of my plays seemingly turn into period pieces overnight with the fight for marriage equality (But Not For Love, the Project 515 touring plays) and the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell" (Leave) winning the day. I'm hoping society doesn't tumble backward now, but if it does there certainly won't be a shortage of things about which to write. I write about things that bug me, because those stories and characters won’t let me be until I give them voice. I write stories I want to (and don’t) see on stage. Because theater is a collaborative art form, both in the rehearsal room among artists and in the performance space among actors and audience, it is the ideal tool for directly connecting to people’s hearts and minds to help create better understanding, to demonstrate the common humanity between people who think they’re different. The stories in my plays tend to be about funny people in unfunny situations. They are also composed of a mix of both gay and straight people, as my life is neither just one or the other. I seek to explore the human consequences of larger issues: - religion (Studpuppy, Heaven and Home, But Not For Love); - war and grief (Leave, Two Left Feet, Blight); - embracing one's sexual identity (Studpuppy, TV Boyfriend, Make Me, The Bronze Bitch Flies At Noon, Dandelion Snow, Dog Tag); - marriage equality (But Not For Love, the Project 515 touring plays); - sexually transmitted diseases (Heaven and Home; How To Date A Werewolf; Discreet, Straight Acting, Disease/Drug Free; All Hallows' Eve); - aging and dementia (This Isn't A Horror Story, Time Lapse); - loneliness and heartbreak (Invisible, Head Above Water, Medea and Jason: Rubicon Waltz, The Hopes and Fears of All The Years); - mental illness and suicide (Bethesda, TV Boyfriend, How To Date A Werewolf).