Family of Choice

Last night I saw two one act plays--"The Further Adventures of...," by Kathleen Warnock, and "Adam & Eva," written and performed by Jack McMahon and Yasmin Zadeh--on a double bill called, "We Met in Dublin."

This morning I realized that while the playwrights and the actors may in fact have met in Dublin, the theme of the evening was finding your family of choice.

Even if your blood family accepts you, but especially when they do not, LGBTQI people tend to create their own families.

Kathleen Warnock and I met in Jenifer Levin's fiction workshop at the west side YMCA, more years ago than I care to remember. At that time, I thought of a play as something with two (or more) acts, actors, sets and costumes, that you saw in a Broadway theater. One of the many blessings of my friendship with Kathleen is that she introduced me to a world of theater that I didn't really know much about--the theater that does on underground or two or three stories up, and the pleasure that a well-crafted one act play can provide--even a 10 minute play! I have enjoyed so many wonderful evenings (well, okay, a few were not all that wonderful but that wasn't because of Kathleen's plays) that I never would have known about were it not for Kathleen.

I've also been privileged to see her work evolve. Each time I've seen "The Further Adventures of...," Kathleen has made changes to it and made it better. Last night it had a new richness and depth that moved me deeply.

I've been so impressed by what can be achieved with minimal--or, in the case of "The Further Adventures of..."--no costumes or sets. The actors create with their bodies, facial expressions, voice and movement. In "The Further Adventures of...," the two male actors, Tim Burke and Mark Finley, play multiple roles. I've found that I don't mind the absence of scenery or costumes; it makes the experience more intimate somehow.

Lately, I've been thinking that storytelling is in our DNA. From the first cave drawings, we have been drawn to tell stories and to listen to them. We need them.

So last night was a lovely evening of stories. "The Further Adventures of..." is about many things for me, including how, as children, we are drawn to particular stories without really understanding why, and how difficult it sometimes was for the generation that came before us. It's also about how creating and imagining our own happy endings is healing and a way to move forward. And "Adam & Eva" reminded me that although it's great that LGBTQI people have the freedom to be out now, that doesn't mean that it's safe.

This is fanciful, I know, but towards the end of "The Further Adventures of...", I felt/imagined Sandra Moran hovering over my left shoulder. i almost turned my head to ask her, "So, what do you think?" But I could only feel regret for another conversation that I would never have with her.

Thanksgiving is next week, and I'm sending out a little pre-holiday gratitude to my dear friend Kathleen, and her wife, Donna. Thank you for being part of my family of choice.