Monday, August 26, 2013

I am Redneck!

Most people who know me already get this (and Lord knows that my girlfriend does) loud and clear. I am a redneck! You might think by that I mean that I come from the South and I do but that's not the point. I have what Jeff Foxworthy calls a "glorious absence of sophistication".  When you give me a choice between meat and potatoes and filet mignon I will pick the former all the time. I prefer a Moonpie and RC as a dessert of choice. I wear basic clothes and I can't bear to throw them away unless they're about to unravel into threads.

My gf and her favorite redneck bf at the zoo with lot's of critters!
Now I know as a theatre person who is pursuing an advanced degree I'm supposed to understand by now that popular theatre is used to the hoity toity. So I shouldn't be surprised that every time I go to a theatre event in my clothes and accent that people are often surprised that I'm a theatre person. I remember that there was a networking event over the summer where I was mingling in the room with my girlfriend (a beautiful black woman). She's a screenwriter and I'm a Playwright. I found it funny that as people would talk about us and ask us about our art that when she introduced herself as a screenwriter they would look at her and say "Oh I thought YOU were the playwright".

I've also gotten the comments from theatre people after a conversation of "you talk really well" or "you're ACTUALLY very smart" That always gives me a chuckle. I know that I bring this on myself by using colloquiallisms like "howdy" and "y'all" that my uneducated redneck brethren also enjoy. And I know that when I wear my cowboy hat and overalls that the first thing you want to do is sing a few bars of dueling banjos and make Deliverance jokes. But please when I make my intellect and love of the arts known please don't be shocked!

I'm saying all of this to say that many people think that I should just cover up my redneck nature in a professional setting. They think that it will bode better for me when I write a play or walk into an interview so that they won't see what I look like and talk like and make the "improper" judgments. Well here's what I always say to them. If you think you would really like me only if I stopped acting like me then you don't really know me at all. My plays would be good whether or not they were written by someone who wore a cowboy hat or not. Theatre is about embracing the creators and artists and our individuality, about being subversive and rejecting the social norms. It's not about making people cookie cutters of the accepted culture. So I proudly announce that I'm different and proud! Theatre would be a much better world if everyone accepted their differences and created from them. So be different and proud!

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