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Beyond Words

nytheatre.com q&a preview by Bill Bowers
September 20, 2012

What is your job on this show?
Actor and Playwright.

Do you consider yourself a writer who also performs, an actor who also writes, or something else?
I consider myself a Mime who talks. Most of my writing has to do with Why I became a MIme and Where that life has taken me. I am especially interested in the role Silence plays in all our lives.

If this is your first appearance in United Solo -- why did you want to be part of this festival?
I was in the first United Solo Festival, and was honored to receive the award for Best Performance. I am excited to be part of the festival again, as I found the producers incredibly supportive and organized. It is a beautifully run festival.

In your own words, what do you think this show is about? What will audiences take away with them after seeing it?
BEYOND WORDS is about the journey from Boyhood to Manhood, and the messages we get along the way about masculinity. The inspiration for the show comes from a poem that was pinned to my baby blanket when I was brought home from the hospital in 1959. The poem was titled "WHAT IS A BOY". I found this poem in my Mom's dresser drawer and was amazed how little the poem had to do with the Boy I was and certainly about the Man I have become. BEYOND WORDS is a collection of stories from my life and from other lives about What it is to be a Boy.

Which famous solo performer has been most inspirational to you: Spalding Gray, John Leguizamo, Lily Tomlin, or Whoopi Goldberg?
Spalding Gray meets David Sedaris in a Charlie Chaplin film.

Can theater bring about societal change? Why or why not?
YES. I have spent most of my life as a traveling performer, and have focused on taking my work to small towns and communities. I am an openly gay performer and my writing is autobiographical. My experience continues to show me that we as humans have more in common with each other than we have differences. And I continue to feel that humans are not as complicated as we might think. People want to feel love and inclusion, and and most of all, they want to feel. Theatre does that. I brings disparate groups of people into one room, and allows them to open their hearts and minds, and feel. Live Theatre can open us up in ways that other art forms might not. Theatre is immediate and temporal and asks the audience to be a part of the moment. It can bring us together, it humanizes.