"Queers For Fears" in F*ckfest at The Brick
An Interview with Ed Malin
Indie Theater Now asked Ed Malin a few questions about this upcoming event.
What’s this play about (in a few sentences); and what particular current issues are you addressing in it?
"Queers for Fears" is a program of companion plays about the spiritual dangers of not coming out of the closet as well as the physical dangers of coming out. Part 1 takes place in 1910. Two airmen in love are deciding whether they must become married men. Part 2 takes place in our time. An abused young woman gravitates towards a controlling lesbian, who gives her love and puts her life in peril. As the two ladies sample the standard operatic repertoire, they see how the media is set up to shame and control women. Jesus makes an uninvited appearance in each opera, and tries his best to divert each story towards redemption and compassion.
Why is this issue/these issues important to you? Why should it be important to the audience?
Surviving abuse is great. I think it's something to celebrate. Since it's a lot easier to abuse the victim, people who haven't thought about it too much may just bash away. It's better than being afraid such things may happen to them. In this experimental production, I humbly present a bunch of obstacles such survivors might encounter. Imagine all the energy that could be saved (and all the new things that could be created) by thinking and talking about abuse. This play sat in a drawer for 10 years until the enlightened F*ckfest came along. I'm sure the audiences of every single show will learn something of value.
Can a play actually bring about social change? How?
As I see it, if an audience observes certain characters (who may or may not be themselves) repeating harmful mistakes, said audience might be moved to change their behavior. This includes getting together to change laws that encourage hate and second-class status for [insert oppressed group/gender/nationality].
If you could get one real person (past or present) to be the spokesperson for your play, who would you choose and why; and what would you want them to tell people about your work?
I would politely ask Bertolt Brecht, and explain that we are dissecting grand opera, not empathizing with it. Graphic violence on stage can change people's minds. The contrasting of two time periods is intended to make the themes clear.
Which is more important to you in your playwriting, and why: to tell an authentic story, to make the audience laugh, to make the audience cry, or to make the audience think?
I want the audience to laugh right before being horrified. I don't see most audiences as wanting to think. Tricking them into thinking, that's something to which I aspire. People shut off grief and pain, and even use such repression as the basis for judging others. That's a lot of nonsense to get around. But I'd rather do that than create an opera which shows its OK to destroy women's lives.
posted June 6, 2015