What most excites you about this production?
This will be among the first pieces in my nascent life of directing which is both exciting and terrifying. I'm also getting the chance to work with actors that I know and love as well as a couple who I am just getting acquainted with, both very exciting things for an actor/director.
What is the greatest challenge you face with this show? You are putting together 17 scenes from 3 different playwrights...
These stories are real, they exist out there in the world and each have their own voice. It's easy to preach tolerance, equality and the kumbaya aspect of these stories but we'd be missing the bigger point. Each and everyone of these people have their hopes, fears, and dreams, what is challenging is keeping these stories true to their core and not allowing them to slip into the absurd.
What kind of research are you doing to prepare?
The research for this production has surrounded me and has been a part of my life. I worked with New Conservatory Theatre Center and their YouthAware Program for a number of years and did extensive research and work for diversity education, homophobia prevention and awareness, HIV prevention, safety and respect education for children.
What have been some of your favorite previous roles (or productions you have been involved with)?
Hijra - NCTC, A number of Sheherezades that I've had the utmost pleasure and honor to be a part of, Snapper in Arrivaderci Roma (picture below) and the Spooky Cabaret where I got to act and direct!
Since this play is about the right to marry what are some of your personal feelings regarding marriage that you would be willing to share?
I personally don't believe in the institute of marriage. At least I didn't. In my younger years I was content being a confirmed bachelor, bounding from gig to gig, falling into relationships that suited me, going along with whatever interests me most. I've reached a milestone in my life and with that milestone come a reexamination of the place I've come to in my life. We cannot move forward without first looking into the mirror. I've achieved a lot in my life and reached a place where I'd like to achieve more, but with somebody. My upcoming nuptials to my longstanding girlfriend, life partner, partner in crime is just that: my partner in greatness. We bring out the best in each other, allow each other to reach for the stars and get a little closer than we could alone. That's what marriage means to me. Not some contract or archaic property law. It's a connection. A connection that enhances the quality of life of both parties and the people surrounding them.
What do you hope audiences will take from this production?
DOMA has been ruled unconstitutional and Prop. 8 is now left in the hands of individual states to decide upon. We stand on the cusp of change and change is a painful process. With that change comes the drama and truth of our everyday lives that we continue to lead. Amid the euphoria of supreme court rulings, rallys, celebrations, and the steps leading from this historic date there are still people out there who will tear others down, react with fear and prejudice.
It is my hope that we meet fear with understanding and compassion instead of prejudice and antagonism. That we attempt to make a connection, no matter how small, in the interest of progress - for the greater good or for personal gain. It is through our shared struggle with humanity, battles with phobias - shared or private, our pain that binds us all together.
We thrive on conflict, we are rash, quick to judge and slow to change. Today we displayed all of those traits of our humanity in all of it's beauty and flaws. I hope we reach for each other in times of triumph or fear. I hope we can connect and reconnect with those people who are important to us. I hope that we continue to move forward, continue to change what it is to be human and reach beyond the limitations that we impose upon ourselves.