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During intermission one night in the run of my first full-length play, Wonder of Our Stage, lights came up to an audience member crying at the scene they had just witnessed. The Alchemist tells his creation, The Automaton, that he can no longer think of him as a son, and the Automaton leaves his creator’s house for good. Clearly, it had struck a cord with this audience member. I wanted to tell them that it would be okay, that things get better. But I didn’t have to. The second half started and the Automaton was taken in by friends, he found success, and he accepted himself as he was. Wonder of Our Stage demonstrated the words of comfort I had wanted to share by offering a character who goes through and comes out the other side of his struggles.

In high school, I felt very lost and alone, and who didn’t, right? I found solace in plays and through characters who were misunderstood or found themselves fighting against the world. In my small town, the only exposure to theatre I had was through the classics, often stumbling across old recordings at the local library. I found comraderie in the soliloquies of Hamlet and Cyrano de Bergerac. In college, I found a sense of kinship in modern plays, like the haunting works of Sarah Kane. She exposed an anguish in the world in such a way that always made reading her plays feel like you were ripping off a band-aid. But while the plays I discovered showed me that I was not alone in my feelings, nothing about them have me hope that it could change.

In my own writing, I want the acknowledgment of those feelings to be a starting place, not the end destination. Like Wonder of Our Stage, most of my work centers on characters discovering who they are, growing into the person they want to be, and finding the community that supports them. I seek not to dwell on individual struggles but examine ways to work through and overcome them. My plays do not provide prescriptive answers but are instead presented as offerings of hope for a variety of possible futures. My goal is to inspire audiences to find their own paths whatever that means to them.

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