I love the theatre’s epic intimacy. I am drawn to plays that require and trust the audience. I direct theatre where the unlistened are heard, the power is questioned, and the women are people. I love the shimmer of truth and beauty, when every one of us in the room feels smart, powerful, and like we belong to something loving and vast.
There are theatre moments I’ve seen that are stuck on my heart forever – too many to list here, though I’d love to gush. Nothing else sticks on a heart or mind like being alive in a space with other humans who, by changing their being onstage, change the world. Even with data on how live theatre actually unites heartbeats, declaring world-change feels a bit twee. But dangit, in this bad old broken time we live in, I’m still hopeful enough to know that we can change the world, queer enough to know there’s an infinite spectrum of joy and drama, and practical enough to get everyone in the same play and on a budget.
I’m a fourth-generation theatre woman who’s been in rehearsal rooms since I was knee-high to a grasshopper. I went to public universities I paid for with jobs and student loans. I’ve cobbled together a living between gigs, needing to eschew unpaid internships and other full-time volunteering most of my life.
Back in 2000, I’d had enough cobbling, and, seven weeks after returning from an acting gig in a Hamlet that toured there, I up and moved to Kaohsiung, Taiwan ‘just for a year’—it turned into seven. I founded and ran a theatre company where I developed my main artistic inquiries: how we exist in language(s); how we choose community or reject the strange; our claims on identity and belonging, love and exclusion, dignity and disrespect, that we’ve got to make the mistake to accept the grace—and how all of that drama or hilarity is tied to the quality of one’s listening.
My odd route hasn’t the connections of more moneyed biographies, but I’ve won the lottery, creatively. I feel like I’m just starting to know the joint, these humans who (to paraphrase the greatest movie) ‘do most of the working and paying and living and dying in this community’. Is it too much to ask that they work and pay and live and die… on our stages? I love the American Theatre in all its shapes and sizes – and, we’ve got a big ol’ race, gender, and class imbalance on our stages that we’re (once again/ finally) reckoning with. Perversely, that’s also what thrills me about right now – so many stories to be told! So many people we get to meet!
What a powerful time to get a bunch of people in a room and change heartbeats together.
I’m all in.