Playwright Elaine Jarvik on AN EVENING WITH TWO AWFUL MEN #GiveOUTDay

Playwright Elaine Jarvik premiered MARRY CHRISTMAS, a celebration of the one-year anniversary of same-sex marriage in Utah, at Plan-B in 2014. Her latest, AN EVENING WITH TWO AWFUL MEN, premieres as part of our 2018/19 season. Click here to make your #GiveOUTDay donation today. “How would you like to write a play about our first gay president?” Plan-B Theatre’s Jerry Rapier asked me in the summer of 2016. And so I began researching the life of a man I knew little about, one of those presidents who fall somewhere in the vague middle, one of those indistinguishable men with a high collar and a grim mouth. And what I discovered, of course, is that there is always more to the story. James Buchanan was the only president to live out his White House tenure as a bachelor. So there were rumors then and there are assumptions today. But the facts are slim: his best friend was Sen. William King of Alabama, who was also a bachelor, and they lived in the same rooming house in Washington; some said then that King was Buchanan’s “better half;” they were referred to as “Miss Nancy” and “Miss Fancy.” And, finally, Buchanan once wrote a letter to a friend in which he bemoaned the fact that Sen. King had been appointed minister to France: “I am now ‘solitary and alone,’ having no companion in the house with me,” he wrote. “I have gone a-wooing to several gentlemen, but have not succeeded with any one of them.” And that’s pretty much it: some innuendoes and a few letters, which we filter through our 21st century understanding...

Actor Robert Scott Smith on #GiveOUTDay

Robert Scott Smith has played gay characters for Plan-B in BASH: LATTERDAY PLAYS, MARRY CHRISTMAS and, most recently, THE ICE FRONT. Click here to make your #GiveOUTDay donation today. One of my jobs as an actor is to create a believable character under imaginary circumstances. There is no requirement that I have to have experienced, in real-life, that character’s particular given circumstances. Now, I could choose to be Daniel Day-Lewis and immerse myself into the role by becoming a carpenter or I could just use my imagination. This same imagination that I have to use all the time when it comes to playing straight. I’ve gotten so good at it that many people say to me, ‘you sure you aren’t straight?’, to which my internal response is, ‘I think that’s supposed to be a compliment.’ Over my 17 years as a professional actor I have only played six LGBTQ+ identified characters, three of them at Plan-B. One of those was actually closeted and played right into the trope that closeted gay men often gay bash. LGBTQ+ characters have come a long way since that role and one such role was Anders in THE ICE FRONT by Eric Samuelsen, produced this season by Plan-B. During the rehearsal process I was speaking with our director, Jerry Rapier, about the relief I felt as an actor that I could just play this role without having to play into the narrative, ‘Are you sure you aren’t straight?’ I’ve spent my entire life always having to look over my shoulder, following an instinct to protect myself, to act straight. It’s a constant. In this...

Playwright Matthew Greene on GOOD STANDING #GiveOUTDay

Playwright Matthew Greene premiered his play ADAM & STEVE AND THE EMPTY SEA at Plan-B in 2013; it then played the New York International Fringe Festival. His latest, GOOD STANDING, opens our 2018/19 season and will also play the United Solo theatre festival in New York. Click here to make your #GiveOUTDay donation today. It’s possible that if I hadn’t spent so many years in the proverbial closet I never would’ve become a writer. It’s the oldest story in the book, isn’t it? Creativity born out of private pain. I spent my days playing the perfect Mormon, slipping that ill-fitting costume on over the self I’d learned to loathe and trying my best to walk a path that was, frankly, killing me. My solace in those dark days was the pen and the page. In the fictional worlds I crafted, nothing could stop me from exploring the tantalizing gray areas and questioning tenets of belief that were supposed to be taken as gospel. I was an undergrad at Brigham Young University (that’s right, Mormon Mecca) when Proposition 8 rocked California and, in turn, the world. Desperate to make sense of the divisive and disturbing rhetoric I heard every day, I wrote a play called ADAM & STEVE AND THE EMPTY SEA, exploring what the gay marriage debate did to two friends, one openly gay and the other openly Mormon. After nearly getting me kicked out of school, the play received its world premiere at Plan-B Theatre in 2013. People were quick to identify Adam, the devout church member, as my onstage stand-in, but who, they all seemed to ask...

Tami Marquardt on #GiveOUTDay

Tami Marquardt is the vice president of Plan-B’s Board of Trustees. She and her wife Jane have been involved with Plan-B since 2001 and are the largest private contributors to the company via their Peace & Possibility Project. Click here to make your #GiveOUTDay gift today. Pushing boundaries – daring and bold – is how I viewed Plan-B Theatre back in 2001 when they brought THE LARAMIE PROJECT to the stage in Salt Lake City. Jane and I had recently been blessed in our Union by our Unitarian minister in a time when sodomy was still on the books and same-sex marriage was a little more than an unspoken fantasy. We were so intent on being recognized as a couple that I changed my surname to Marquardt in an attempt to be say to the world:  “We are a couple.  We mean it, we mean it, we really really mean it!” So you might imagine how my heart leapt up when we were sitting in the audience on opening night of THE LARAMIE PROJECT and,  just before the show, Jerry Rapier announced that Jane & Tami Marquardt were funders of the play.  The gasp in the audience was from me!  I was so moved by our first out-loud-and-proud public recognition as a married couple that I literally had tears in my eyes. It is a timeless time spot that I will always remember and I have been a dedicated Plan-B Groupie ever since.  Jane and I are devoted contributors to Plan-B.  I truly love this little theatre company – still daring, bold and pushing boundaries....

Managing Director and resident sound designer Cheryl Cluff interviews her husband Todd Riesen about his failed parachute on his first sky dive, which has nothing and everything to do with JUMP

As Managing Director Cheryl Cluff and Artistic Director Jerry Rapier were sweeping and mopping the theatre on Wednesday afternoon, Cheryl casually asked, “Have I ever told you about Todd’s failed parachute?” [Long pause.]  Todd is Cheryl’s husband, the answer was no, Jerry asked her to talk to Todd about sharing it on our blog and the story is below. It has nothing and everything to do with the world premiere of Austin Archer’s JUMP, premiering April 5-15 in a co-pro with Flying Bobcat Theatrical Laboratory. Cheryl: How old were you when you had this experience? Todd: I was in my 20s. Cheryl: Was this after or before I met you? Todd: I think it was right before we met. Cheryl: So it was 1987-ish. Todd: Probably. Cheryl: Was this your first sky diving experience? Todd: Yes. Cheryl: Was this your ONLY sky diving experience? Todd: No. Cheryl: Oh, you went again after that? Todd: Yeah a couple times. I think three times, or four. This was my first time. I went by myself. it was a spur of the moment decision. Cheryl: You suddenly decided to do it. Did you tell anyone you were going to do it? Todd: No. Cheryl: So you did the training and everything, and it was not a tandem jump, it was a solo jump, right? Todd: Yes. Cheryl: How did you feel when you were sitting the airplane getting ready to jump? Todd: Very nervous. I was sitting right on the floor right next to the door of the airplane. The door swung up – Cheryl: It rolled up? Todd: It didn’t roll...

Pin It on Pinterest