The Elephant in My Closet
nytheatre.com q&a preview by David Lee Nelson
September 14, 2012
What is your job on this show?
Writer and actor. .
Where were you born? Where were you raised? Where did you go to school?
I was raised in Greenville, SC. I went to Wade Hampton High School, spent a summer at the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts, received a BA in Theatre from the College of Charleston and my MFA in Acting from the Alabama Shakespeare Festival. I couldn’t be more of a product of the public school system if I tried. I am such a product of public education the only way I eat pizza is if it’s square and comes with a side of corn.
Why do you do theater (as opposed to film, or TV, or something not in the entertainment field)?
Because working on plays is the greatest thing there ever. That and film and TV haven’t called yet.
In your own words, what do you think this show is about? What will audiences take away with them after seeing it?
The show is about political identity, the history of the Republican Party, my love of them, the eventual break up, and then me, coming out to my very Republican father, as a Democrat. What will audiences take away? Every play I write I want people to leave feeling like they are not alone. Like if I talk about how I was really wrong about something- they will fell less bad about times when they were wrong. For Democrats seeing the show- I would love for them to realize that Republicans aren’t all rich, racist, homophobes. Some of them are poor... For Republicans- I would love for them to realize that Democrats aren’t all socialists who hate America. We’re simply socialists who hate America Themed Clothing.
Which famous New Jerseyite would like your show the best: Snooki, Bruce Springsteen, Thomas Edison?
Bruce Springsteen. Because Thomas Edison is dead and Snooki probably doesn’t know who the President is.
Theater is a necessary ingredient in democratic societies. Do you agree or disagree, and why?
I do not think theatre is a necessary ingredient in Democratic societies. People can live by majority rule with or with out plays. And theatre doesn’t need Democracy- Shakespeare did just fine in a Monarchy and Stanislavski and Chekhov did ok under the Tsars. I think theatre is bigger then politics. Somehow by me, a human, sitting in a room with other humans, watching a human on stage go through and deal with things humans go through, I get to learn more about what it means to be human. More importantly, I get see that other people are humans too. It can illicit empathy. That is way bigger than politics.