Month: April 2017

To Tie the Knot or Not: The LGBT Community Debates

In Daniel’s Husband, the issue of gay marriage is an important theme, and a divisive issue for partners Daniel and Mitchell, who have different views on the topic. In the aftermath of the legalization gay marriage across all 50 states, many gay and lesbian couples face pressures to marry. So what are people’s reasons for tying the knot… Or not?

Daniel's Husband at Primary Stages

Ryan Spahn and Matthew Montelongo in the Primary Stages production of Daniel’s Husband. Photo by James Leynse. 

 

PRO: They want to be accepted.

“Couples as well as individuals in the LGBT community will seem less “different” from heterosexual lifestyle, so straight couples and individuals will be more inclined to accept homosexual couples into their communities.”

CON: They don’t want to be involved in a previously discriminatory institution.

“I didn’t want to be a part of any club that wouldn’t have me as a member.”

PRO: It could decrease teen suicide rates.

“We need to explain to younger generations that being different is not a social disability, so that they will never feel the need to take their own lives because they are gay.”

CON: They want to remain unique.

“We’ve got marriage, it’s called a civil partnership and I rejoice in the fact that people like me who are different from straight people can do something they can’t. I relish that.”

PRO: They want to adopt children.

“Many agencies will only release children to “married” couples, therefore rejecting stable, loving, homosexual parents.”

CON: They can gain all the benefits elsewhere.

“The beauty of a civil union or domestic partnership is that it can offer both straight and gay couples the benefits that traditionally married couples receive without having to actually get married, an act that some may find ‘patriarchal’ and ‘anachronistic.’”

PRO: They want hospital visitation and medical rights.

“Legalizing gay marriage will allow gay couples hospital visitation rights and respect the validity of their marriage by letting them make medical decisions on behalf of their spouses.”

CON: They fear it will end poorly.

“Legba Carrefour… calls it a “destructive way of life” that produces broken families.”

PRO: They do it… because they can!

“Gay people who are in favor of same-sex marriage believe anything short of marriage is not equality.”

CON: They don’t feel it will change anything.

“We love each other and have lived together for 30 years,” he said. “Why do we need to get married?”

 

The Primary Stages production of Daniel’s Husband runs until April 28, 2017 at the Cherry Lane Theatre. For tickets and more information, visit our website.

Primary Stages Profile: Taylor Gregory, Primary Stages/Fordham MFA, ’17

taylor (1)What was your very first play about?

Chittenango was about a Broadway director who forgets that it’s opening night for his show Jesus Fantastic!

What is your earliest memory of the theater?

When I was young, my cousin Tommy, who is now a priest, would write and stage plays in the basement every Thanksgiving as entertainment for our extended family. All of the cousins had roles and the shows were not very good.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received as a playwright?

Mark Bly told me, “Characters have secrets.”

What makes a good artistic home?

A Keurig, cozy socks, a small guitar and sunflower seeds.

Tell us about your play! What was your inspiration?

A Small Group is about a man who wakes up in rehab with no recollection of how he got there. He is befriended by four other patients who take him into their group where he discovers that his struggles with identity are not uncommon, and that everybody has a story.  The prevalence of addiction in our culture inspired this play.  We all know “someone.”

Taylor Gregory’s A Small Group will be presented April 27-30 at HERE Arts. Click here for more info.

Primary Stages Profile: Michael Palmer, Stage Manager

As Stage Manager for the Primary Stages production of Daniel’s Husband, Michael Palmer takes on a variety of roles throughout each step of putting a show on stage. In this candid interview, Michael talks about what his job entails, his favorite theater memory, and the one factor that makes his job worth it, every single time.

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The Primary Stages production of Daniel’s Husband. Photo by James Leynse.

What made you want to become a stage manager?

I fell into it. I started out as an actor, dancer, chorus boy, and a musician. I played and piano and violin, and I was a music major in school. And my roommate was a stage manager. Years ago on a tour, they needed an ASM (assistant stage manager). So I said, ‘I’ll do it’. And so throughout the years I would, if someone said, “Hey we need a stage manager, will you do it?” I would do it. And then I was casting a production of the Scottish play, and the stage manager left before we even started so I said “I’ll do his work until you find someone else.” And then the director was fired, and a new director came in and they still hadn’t found a stage manager so I was basically stage-managing it. The show never ended up going up and the producer pulled out eventually. But then I got another stage managing gig and another stage-managing gig. And then I just became a stage manager. I’ve been stage-managing now for about ten years full time.

Not everyone knows what a stage manager does. Could you explain your job?

It’s a hard job to describe, but how I look at it is that everyone is involved in the show, I put it in a big circle: producers, directors, actors, and designers. I kind of stand in the middle and just make sure everything is working, everyone is communicating, and everyone has what they need. It’s sort of like an office manager because, especially in the beginning, you’re doing all the scheduling, and paperwork and things that are happening: everyone has scripts, making sure scripts are updated. When you get into the rehearsal process, you’re making sure everything is written down: what props are needed, where they’re going, where the actors are moving, staying on lines to make sure they’re learning their lines correctly, and you’re working as a right hand with the director. When the show starts running, you do what’s called, “calling the show”. You’re on the headsets calling for the lights, and the sound, and the crew, and so you’re running the show.

Do you have a favorite theater memory?

There’s just so many. I grew up here in New York so I was always seeing shows: Broadway shows, off, off-off. Well one thing I remember from when I was a kid, I saw a production with Bernadette Peters before she was “Bernadette Peters,” you know? When she was just starting out- it was called Curley McDimple, she must have been about 18. Me and my family, we followed her career because she was the girl we saw. In college, I saw a production with Estelle Parsons and she just blew me away, it was just an amazing thing to see. I stage-managed a show that she directed, so I got to work with her for a little short while. On the second day, she called me, and I was like ‘every time you say my name I shake’.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

I think the most rewarding part of the job is the show. Everything about it, I can’t find just one thing that is rewarding, it’s the whole thing. The show, getting our show up and people applauding at the end, you know? Liking the work that we’ve all done, collaborative efforts of everyone.

The most challenging?

The scheduling (laughs). The hardest part is just trying to…doing everything that everyone needs, you’re making their lives easier. I mean not only their life on the outside, but you know people having bad days, or things going on, they need this, they need that, sometimes there may be friction. So, I think that’s the most challenging part is to make sure that you’re getting it all done the way people need it, and without stepping on toes or hurting someone. Just do it all with a smile and you’ll get it done.

What is your favorite play? Why?

It’s usually what I’m working on at the time. I mean I do have to say Daniel’s Husband is one of my favorites, it really is. I love everything about this: this experience, the people I’m working with, the actors, the crew, the play itself, the writer. I’ve worked with this director a lot, I love working with him. I love A Midsummer Night’s Dream. I don’t know if I would call that my favorite. I don’t think I have a favorite. I don’t have a favorite color either.

Primary Stages is in the midst of a season-long initiative about “home.” What does that word mean to you? 

Well it conjures up different things in different contexts. But in this context, home is right here. I feel really at home sitting here, or up there, in my booth with my headset on, I’m at home. Coming into this whole process, going to rehearsals. Most people have to have other jobs: waiting tables, working in offices, none of that is home. This is home.

 

The Primary Stages production of Daniel’s Husband runs until April 28, 2017 at the Cherry Lane Theatre. For tickets and more information, visit our website.

 

Primary Stages Profile: Edward Precht, Primary Stages/Fordham MFA, ’17

EdwardPrechtWhat was your very first play about?

My first full-length play was about a guy who, in so few words, went on a very weird drug trip, during which he learned about the entire history of theater. So many theater puns. Like, 100% theater puns. It’s embarrassing in its own charming way, but it’s what got me here.

What is your earliest memory of the theater?

I couldn’t tell you my earliest, but I do know the most important: the day I saw George Brant’s Elephant’s Graveyard. Up until then I’d only seen pretty standard, kitchen sink-y plays. That production was the first that showed me the versatility of theater and the power of words.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received as a playwright?

I think it was Julie Jensen who told me she didn’t believe in writer’s block – that the best way to keep writing was, well, to keep writing. I’m still a little on the fence about it, but it has gotten me through some rough writing patches.

What makes a good artistic home?

The people. The people, the people, the people. Life sucks, man, and art is hard. But if you can find yourself a family – folks who understand you and challenge you and fuel you, both as an artist and a human being – then you’ll have found a home.

Tell us about your play! What was your inspiration?

Strange, America is about a young couple that gets stranded in a mysterious town in the Pacific Northwest. It’s a play about belief, cultural collision, and a very lifelike stuffed jackalope. I took inspiration from all over – Twin Peaks, Dante, Welcome to Night Vale, Rossetti, Gravity Falls, etc., etc., etc. – as well as a few things I (and, I think, all of us) struggle with from time to time. It’s been a joy-and-a-half to write. I hope it’s just as enjoyable to watch.

Edward Precht’s Strange, America will be presented ad April 20-23 at HERE Arts. Click here for more info.