Artistic Statement

Artistic Statement

There were a lot of thoughts that hit me when I crossed the Brooklyn Bridge for the first time in late-summer 2015, but one permeated the rest, and has stuck with me for awhile. I was running from something, and as we crossed the Brooklyn Bridge and I got the first look at what y life could be, I realized what it was I was running from: a deep, deep fear that I wouldn’t make as an artist. Mostly because I didn’t know what I wanted out of *being* an artist. Yet.
It’s not like that fear went away once I got settled in the vity. I’m what you might consider a peripheral-member of the theatre industry; that is to say, while I have found mild success in smaller regional productions, I have not had commercial success on- or off-Broadway. I don’t consider this the only marker of “success in our industry”, but it’s the most obvious one. I have auditioned my voice dry since moving here. I’ve submitted my plays for every known residency or developmental production. And when someone asks “What Do You Do?”, I immediately say I’m an artist, knowing that there’s a long way to go. There have been many struggles in the six years since that moment of crossing the Brooklyn Bridge, but each turn of the knife pushed me a little harder, forced me to identify the community I want to exist within, and how I want to help it. I’ve been exposed to so many wonderful opportunities in the theatre and arts community. I’ve seen so many amazing productions, concerts, installations, performances. And each time my breath gets taken away, the picture of the type of artist I want to be gets a little clearer. So that each time I sit down to write a new play, work on an old draft, that picture crystalizes in a new way.
When I graduated from Boston College with a degree in Applied Psychology and English (with some theatre sprinkled in there) I never thought I’d find myself in the field of playwriting. But what I’ve discovered is that what I find most interesting, and consequently drives most of my plays, is the small interactions between people that define who we are, to each other and to ourselves.
For instance, in October 2020, I returned to my hometown (Uncasville, Connecticut) to do some yard work for my parents and house sit for my sister. One morning I was taking the garbage out and I ran into the girl who had just moved in next door. As we got to talking, it turned out that it was her wedding day. And I was stumped by this interaction. I couldn’t get over it. And it kept coming back to me: the thought that she had met a complete stranger on a monumental day. I couldn’t let it go, so I wrote a play about it. Before that, my girlfriend and I were camping in upstate New York with some friends, and we had what could only be described as a paranormal experience in the woods one night. We talked about it for days later, so I wrote a play about it. Two years ago, two bullfrogs were courting each other on my parents’ deck while we were planning a wedding for my cousin, and I found it so beautiful. It was the dumbest thing, but I actually cried thinking about these bullfrogs falling in love near my childhood pool. So I wrote a play about it. I love these small things, the things that I can’t get out of my teeth. They reflect back to me some small part of myself. Sometimes that takes form as a character, or a sentence of dialogue, or a stage direction. But I find myself in these smaller moments. So I write plays about them.
I wish I could say I’m writing about big ideas, but I don’t think I am. At this point in my writing career I’m writing for myself; for my examination and my own growth. That doesn’t mean people can’t relate, in fact, I think they can more so. People who have read my drafts have said that I’m relatable, approachable. And that’s what I look for when I read or see theatre. I want universality. That’s what I’m striving for. I believe that this struggle is reflected in my works thus far.
In the future, I hope to hone my skills, and challenge what drives my work. I’m finding that the characters I write at this moment are similar to myself; versions of me, what I think and believe. I know I can do more than that. My worldview is limited, and sometimes based in heteronormative perspectives. I’ve recently been reading Matthew Salesses’ “Craft in the Real World”, which has challenged the way I learned to write, and how my old process feeds into an oppressive and patriarchal society. I want to be so much more, and reflect ideas that this ever-shifting world reflects. I think I can be.