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Straight Faced Lies

nytheatre.com q&a preview by Mark Jason Williams
May 28, 2013

What is your job on this show?
Playwright.

What is your show about?
On Thanksgiving, theres nothing to fear but family itself as a manipulative mother fights for control, a son tries to hide a secret, a daughter wrestles with an unexpected pregnancy, and surprises pour out like stuffing.

What type of theater do you like most to work on?
I really like creating theater that represents the human condition; shows that are filled with authentic experiences, full-bodied characters, and a blend of powerful drama and relatable comedy. I'm very happy when audiences make connections to the play and its characters.

What are some of your previous theater credits? (Be specific! Name shows, etc.)
My play, Recovery, has been produced in the 15th Annual New York International Fringe Festival, 2011 Minnesota Fringe Festival, 2010 Planet Connections Theatre Festivity, and will soon be seen in the 2013 Capital Fringe Festival in Washington D.C. The Other Day, another full-length play, was performed at the 2011 Planet Connections Theatre Festivity, for which I received the 2011 Planet Connections Award for Outstanding Playwriting of a New Script. The Other Day was also performed at the 2011 Chicago Fringe Festival, and can be seen the upcoming Fresh Fruit Festival. Both plays are currently available for download on Indie Theater Now! Additional credits include: Crazy at Heart (Network One-Act Festival/Barrow Group Theater), Smiles to Saturn (Planet Connections/Bleecker Street Theater; Loews Stagefest/Landmark Loews Jersey City) and Midnight Musings (Planet Connections/Bleecker Street Theater).

Do you think the audience will talk about your show for 5 minutes, an hour, or way into the wee hours of the night?
I'm shooting for wee hours of the night! There's a lot going on in Straight Faced Lies, with each character having an incredibly nuanced, personal journey, so there's a lot of moments which that will get audiences talking. Plus, part of the fun about the show is that it's about a dysfunctional family trying to get through Thanksgiving. A bunch of people I know have already screamed, "been there," so I think this one will get people talking about their own experiences with their families, for sure.

Which “S” word best describes your show: SMOOTH, SEXY, SMART, SURPRISING?
SMART

How important is diversity to you in the theater you see/make?
Diversity is incredibly important. As a writer, you want to explore the unique perspectives of people from different backgrounds; you want to see how these individuals connect and what drives them apart. On the opposite end of the spectrum, unless it's vital to the story, I like to leave a character's ethnicity open so that we can truly find the right person to play them. The trick is to be authentic, and not a stereotype. When I wrote The Other Day, for example, the main characters are two gay men, but their sexuality was never any issue, the show was more about how we relate to one another as humans.