So, my job(s) aren’t things that are easily explained. My career path is…perhaps a bit unusual and, really, there’s no concise, neat way to explain what exactly it is that I do for a living.
This is never more apparent than when writers of articles about my amazingly brilliant and talented brother and sister attempt to synthesize my work in a few words.
For those of you who don’t know, I’m the middle child of a theatre-crazy family and BOTH my siblings are performing on Broadway right now. On top of being brilliant performers, my bro and sis are pretty damn awesome and lots of news sites have picked up on their stories and journeys over the past couple of years. A lot of times, I get a mention too! However, the ways I’m described tends to vary.
I’ve been called an actor, playwright, “has appeared on TV,” and put in to all sorts of categories that may or may not fit my job description. And here’s the thing, it’s not the fault of the people writing those articles, there really is no way to explain what I do. Even I have a hard time describing it to people, and I’m the one living it!!
For school I was asked to write an “artist statement” which nicely synthesizes what kinds of work I do and why. I am pretty happy with what I’ve come up with, it’s detailed, expressive and fills in all the nice grey areas of the stuff I’ve done. It’s also three paragraphs long.
I have a feeling that the hard working people of Broadway.com don’t want to have to put a three-paragraph explanation of my occupation next to my name in a photo.
Thankfully, in this particular blog, I don’t have to concisely pare my jobs down into one word. What I CAN do is give some examples of the work I do here, and you guys can take from it what you will.
So, yes, I do and have done a lot of things. Here are some highlights:
Green Chimneys- Currently, I’m working at Green Chimneys NYC Division, an organization for LGBT Homeless Youth. I meet with them 1-2 times a week and we make theatre. We’re currently working on a forum piece (thanks Augusto Boal) where a character goes through a situation not unlike some of the challenges faced by the youth themselves. That character doesn’t handle the situation very well and ends up being discharged from the program. The catch? After viewing the piece, the audience is asked to come up with solutions and interventions for ways the negative outcome could have been prevented. The young people will be performing the piece to their peers and the peers will be the ones asked to change the outcome of the situation in the hopes that it will offer options and solutions for problems in their own lives.
I <3 Female Orgasm- Starting this summer I’m going to be traveling across the country educating college students about, you guessed it, the female orgasm. Arguably the best job on the planet, I get to use my theatre skills and years of acquired knowledge about sex and sexuality, and use it to educate a group of people who, with the sad state of sex ed in our country, could really use some help. I LOVE that I get to focus on the “pleasure” aspect of sex ed as well as looking into the power dynamics, lack of communication and other horrifically ignored aspects of sex and sexuality.
Library Performances- One job that I’ve done quite a bit since graduating is devising and performing various shows for kiddos of all ages at libraries around NYC. I’ve performed shows about winter folk tales, Irish storybooks and self esteem. What’s cool about these performances is that they’re not your usual run of the mill “we perform while the kiddos watch” shows. They incorporate a lot of feedback from the audience, asking the young people to think critically, be active and problem solve instead of just passively sitting and watching.
Female Sexuality Project- I’m currently working with one of my favorite people, Rachel Sullivan, to put together a devised performance piece about female sexuality. Devised theatre is essentially theatre that doesn’t come from a script, but instead comes from the ideas, opinions and experiences of the people creating it. We’re working with a group of women around NYC to see what THEY think about female sex and sexuality. We’re taking those ideas and working with the women to create humorous, thought-provoking scenes around a variety of related topics. Eventually the piece will be presented in a relatively-traditional theatre format with some nice interdisciplinary surprises thrown in. I love working with interesting, insightful people with TONS of different opinions and experiences.
Now, these four jobs are only a very small sample of the work I do. I’ve also been a professional actor, arts administrator, dialogue generator, mediator, facilitator, activist, director, teacher and a million other things. But it’s hard to choose just one that really encapsulates the breadth of the work I do.
So there you are! A little more insight into this crazy life I lead.
Can YOU encapsulate it into a word or two?
Regardless of the work I’m doing, chances are good I look something like this.