"Lying in Bed" Play to Premiere
A new queer play will hit the stage in Atlanta, Georgia next month.
Lying in Bed, a new play by Cole Thomas, will be performed around Atlanta, Georgia from February 12th to the 18th, 2012. Cole Thomas and director TeeJay Johnson sat down to talk the story behind the play, gender fluidity and more.
What inspired you to write Lying in Bed and how long did it take?
Thomas: It took precisely a year. Inspiration for this particular play happened when I began noticing that women who have adjusted to the more troubling aspects of living openly as lesbian, queer, or allied speak of seeking a deeper community connection, one with personal, political, spiritual and even historical implications. Events that tickle the mind, the heart and all of those sexy places: for me those events involve art, laughter, sensuality and education. Lying in Bed's characters bring these to the stage.
Who can perform this play?
Thomas: The original cast is largely queer women of color. The script would need to be adapted for all white or all male casts; however, I'd like very much to see this happen down the road. It's a queer play, but not a play just for and about queer community. With Lying in Bed adaptations, a few of the character's gender and sexuality identities must remain static but overall it's quite a pliable set of stories woven into one play.
Some of the characters are acted by a person whose assigned gender isn’t apparent, and may not become apparent throughout the performance. Did you insist on this with the director and, if so, why?
Thomas: Yes, as much as my insistence changes - or doesn't - I indicate that the actor should have such an androgynous appearance that the audience is forced to recognize that whether the character identifies or is identifiable as male or female, the issues at hand don't change drastically. "I love you," spoken between lovers expresses a desire to share closeness, intimacies and togetherness, regardless of a couple's gender or sexual orientation. "I guess I should have told you that I'm already married before we had sex," spoken from one person to another, conveys deceit, regardless of a couple's gender or sexual orientation. I think sometimes we agree intellectually with these statements, but to experience it in fiction as part of very familiar scenarios can be cathartic.
What attracted you to the Lying in Bed project?
Johnson: I was intrigued by several aspects of the play from the very beginning. The relationships and interactions between the characters are funny and insightful, while being educational and thought provoking. I loved the idea that Cole had behind incorporating both novice and seasoned performers in this project. Also, coming to the project with innumerable years of community theatre experience, I felt that I was qualified to bring the performance to the level of promise shown in such a prolific script while using the opportunity to teach and train the actors.
As a director, how does it sit with you that some of the characters assigned genders remain unclear throughout the play? What impact do you think this has on your audience?
Johnson: Intrigue and suspense are two very necessary ingredients in the recipe for a good play. This paradigm produces both of these. I also love the fact that the ambiguity will promote dialogue between the audience members. It may even draw people back for a repeat viewing in an attempt to figure it out. In addition it’s an excellent concept to enforce the realization that the interactions between the characters transcend characteristics such as sexual orientation, sex and gender.
To keep up with the play check it out on Facebook or help make it happen by heading to kickstarter.com. Atlanta shows will be as follows: February 12, 2012 at The Green Room Actor's Lounge, February 14, 2012 at The Phillip Rush Center, February 17, 2012 at Community Exchange, and February 18, 2012 at Georgia Perimeter College, Dunwoody Campus. Check out Lying in Bed's trailer below.
This interview was contributed by Dusty Wenk, the founder of The Real Rolemodels, a database for organizations and their founders, organization members, and anyone who wants to see global change, peace and solidarity. The database seeks to connect individuals to groups and promote action among the two,with causes ranging from civil rights to environmental protection, to peace and poverty, and everything in between.
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