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IN ORDER OF APPERANCE
ABOUT THE SHOW
It is spring, 2020. Billy Nielson finds himself back in his parents’ home after living independently and individually for several years. At home he and his parents, with their next door neighbors and lifetime friends, learn how to cohabitate with new relationships, dynamics, and worldviews.
ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHT
Bradley Robert Jensen is a multi-hyphenate theatre artist based in Rock Island where he works as resident costume designer at Circa ‘21. Recent performance credits include Eddie/Dr. Scott- The Rocky Horror Show (The Speakeasy), Bert Healy/Drake-Annie, Motzart-Amadeus (Taylor University), Lysander-A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Venticelli-Amadeus (Alley Theatre), and Dr. Einstein-Arsenic and Old Lace (Commons Theatre.) He is thrilled to be back at The Mockingbird having previously appeared in "A Christmas Carol."
First of all, thank you so much for coming and supporting this brand new play at the Mockingbird. New work is vital for the continuation of Theatre and audience support at companies who center new work will allow it to keep being created.
This play is very personal to me and, I think, very important to be seen and sat with today, no matter which member of the central family you most closely align with. This play was inspired by (and started its life as a journal of sorts about) my time living with my parents in 2020 and 2021 and our growth in relationship with each other. That being said, it is far from autobiographical. People have been mashed together to form singular characters, events that had nothing to do to each other were Frankensteined together to create a clean 3-act play, significance of certain events were shifted for the sake of character arches, and everything was tweaked to bring forth the central-most message of the play: There is space between opinions, beliefs, morals, and family and loved ones who believe differently about those, but often love resides not in one end or the other, but in the space between. So much queer-centric media shows queer people leaving their family who react negatively when they come out or families excluding their queer child when they come out. That’s obviously based in truth and is so sad, but is not the only option. Often (and in my experience, specifically), families and queer children alike are able to think of more than just queerness and choose love based on those other things, allowing time for growth and heart-changes, and renewed relationships and I wanted to show that to offer a bit of hope.
There’s so many opposing forces inside each character and between characters in this play that speak to the idea of “the space between.” Billy and Mikayla both grew up in conservative, Christian families, but land pretty far left of their upbringing, but are also different from each other. Both maintain new versions of their parents’ faith but engage with it separately in ideas of sexuality and tradition. Both mothers choose (or try to choose) traditional female roles within their families but both seem to step outside of those roles in terms of power dynamics than not. Amanda loves her son more than anything in the world but struggles to love one part of him and that brings up the question between her and Billy: is that unconditional love, to leave it at that, or is the unconditional love to continue to engage with each other despite singular or multiple differences to actively choose love rather than blindly giving up one’s closely held beliefs (no matter the opinion)? Billy starts the play wanting to engage as little as possible with his parents but through forced proximity chooses to engage and allows a space between their differences to be found on which new relationships can be formed. Likewise, his parents want to engage with him on a macro level but not with the micro-level of his queerness, but find the same space that Billy does through forced proximity.
The play was written through the eyes of (and therefore centering) Billy, but it’s important to note that all of the characters are meant to work towards love, not hate. To view any of them as villains or bad people is an oversimplification. I have worked hard both as a playwright and director to work towards love in all choices of words, movements, inflections, and subtexts.
I hope this play helps you find the love in your life. I hope it helps to find the space between differences. In a time in our country in which we are on a backwards swing of queer acceptance to the point of discussing criminalizing queer marriage and even expression it’s vital to remember that behind each queer person is just that, a person, and that the same is true for those who are on the opposite side. If we can all take a moment to remember each others’ humanity, the hatred can fade away and hopefully be replaced, through time, with love.
ABOUT THE SHOW
Bradley Robert Jensen
Savannah Bay Strandin
Ryan J. Hurdle
Virtual Showbill and Web Design
Virtual Design Services
Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse
THANK YOU SUPPORTING US!
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