Joshua Skalski ’21

Theatre Major

“fag”

Disclaimer: The word “fag,” which for some has derogatory and negative connotations, has been reclaimed in the project by the artist who identifies as a member of the LGBTQ+ community.

Focusing on the themes clandestineness/secrecy, family conflict, and societal taboos, I have written multiple pieces (monologues, short scenes, dramatic poetry, etc.) that I have strung together in a thematic narrative illustrated through an episodic structure. The content of this narrative is based on the experiences of myself and other queer men in relation to society and the world today. After edits and finalizing the text in Fall 2020, the production was cast. I directed rehearsals throughout February of Spring 2021. The show was videotaped, and I expect a final edit to be finished very soon. The video will be uploaded to YouTube, and I will be promoting the link on my website and other social media.

Artist Statement

My name is Joshua Skalski. I am a queer person with a passion for the creation of and fostering of the growth of theatre and theatrical artists. I care immensely for the well-being of others and I want that which I create to reflect this. I hold the concept of “stories” and “memories” to a very high regard and I feel that everyone has a story worth telling, listening to, and remembering.

I have a passion for and focus on queer study and theory in my personal life. I feel that in our society today we still lack a clear understanding of the struggles and barriers for LGBTQ people. We have made great strides in the civil rights movement — but I think the amount of progress we have made blinds many people to the harsh reality that we still have so much farther to go. It is when people say “Well those things don’t happen anymore”, when violence is still clearly happening left and right on a daily basis. It is when people say “We’re all equal now, there’s nothing left to do”, when queer men are still, by federal law, not allowed to donate blood, when trans people are still being denied healthcare. It is when people question “Why are you still so afraid to be ‘out’ in public?”, while we are still consistently holding vigils for our siblings who are killed every single day. So many people believe that because we have legalized “gay marriage” that there are simply no issues left, and that there’s nothing left to fight for. And this goes for all sides. There is a distinct lack of intersectionality among LGBTQ people as well. We don’t care for each other the way we should. Often, we lack the ability to come to the aid of those who are on our very own side.

My mission is to bring a real, bright light on to these issues. I want to create something that emphasizes the struggle and hardships that people don’t see and/or sweep to the wayside. I want to tell the stories of many people, not just my own. I knew that through speaking with others that share my hardships and experiences, I could write pieces that speak to a general audience. I want to present pieces of theatre (monologues, scenes, narrative poetry) that present an actualized version of our stories. I wanted to make something that’s difficult to watch and speak about. I didn’t want this project to hold entertainment as its highest pillar. I wanted the reality of our experiences to be on display. I wanted the display to be so close that it is hard to separate oneself from their own part in these social issues. I understand the flaw with only telling the stories/experiences of my own and those of other queer men — but it isn’t my place to tell those stories. I will tell that which is near and dear to me, and through this I will bring the stories of hardship to the forefront of the minds that may not quite clearly understand them.

 

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