From PlayFest: Jordan Seavey on ‘The Truth Will Out’

A short Q&A with playwright Jordan Seavey on his new play The Truth Will Out. Some biographical info follows:

What’s your play about, in a couple of sentences?

The Truth Will Out tells two tales that intertwine in unexpected ways: the story of a closeted gay celebrity cable news journalist/personality and the story of an out gay fourteen old boy who is murdered by a male classmate after asking said classmate to be his valentine (inspired by the real life murder of Lawrence King in 2008).  So it’s about identity (real, imagined, and fabricated) and celebrity and media and its responsibility to the public and to youth, and it’s about love and longing and relationships, and it’s about hatred and intolerance and fear, and it’s about where we are as a society in 2010.  Also, Tina Turner makes an appearance.  Unfortunately not the real Tina Turner but maybe Philip Seymour Hoffman could put in a call.

What was the impetus that made you want to write it?

The play was triggered for me by my anger at Lawrence King’s murder.  As adolescents are coming out at younger and younger ages, it’s imperative that our schools (not to mention the world) come to terms with reality and learn how to deal with it, and provide the students, their peers, and their parents the tools to understand it.  Tolerance must be an American value.  Bullying is one thing, though unacceptable; shooting a child in the back of the head twice is another.  Sexuality is a heated, feared subject for many of us — and clearly fear can lead to real, tangible danger.

Has it been produced anywhere else?

Not yet but fingers crossed!  It’s received development, though, at the Old Vic Theatre in London, the hotINK Festival of International Play Readings at NYU, and this upcoming May, at the New York Theatre Workshop and Rattlestick Playwrights Theater.

What do you hope to get out of its inclusion in PlayFest?

What I most look forward to at Playfest is being in the actual theatre during the reading with a non-New-York audience.  I imagine this will teach me a lot, and maybe the play will teach the audience too.  One of the great things about New York is that homosexuality is closer to being just a part of the fabric of life here.  There are more gay men in New York City than hot dog carts or Yankee fans.  So I look forward to hearing a non-NYC audience’s reaction.

Jordan Seavey is a member of the Public Theater’s 2009 Emerging Writer’s Group.  His play The Truth Will Out is a 2010 Finalist for the O’Neill’s National Playwrights Conference and will receive development at the New York Theatre Workshop and Rattlestick Playwrights Theater.  Co-founder and co-artistic director of NYC theatre company CollaborationTown which makes ensemble-based new plays.  With CTown, he wrote or co-wrote Townville, The Astronomer’s Triangle (4 New York Innovative Theatre Award nominations), The Trading Floor, and Dante’s Inferno.  Other plays: The Funny Pain, 6969 (winner, three 2007 NYIT Awards), Ann Coulter: I’m Going to Blow Your Fucking Brains Out, This Is a Newspaper (FringeNYC Excellence Award, 2003), American Child, and The Long Distance.  Fellowships include the Edward F. Albee Foundation, the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, and Robert Wilson’s Watermill Center.  P73 Playwriting Fellowship semi-finalist, 2009.  His play Children at Play will be published by Playscripts.

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