• Leading Men

    A solo play written and performed by Blake Walton and directed by Ann Morrison

    Photos by Sorcha Augustine

    Blake Walton on 

    LEADING MEN

     

    I wrote LEADING MEN after performing in Ann Morrison’s TREVOR’S FIRE in the 2012 United Solo Festival. I stated in an interview: “Everyone has a story. Some stories need to be told, but we don’t always know that our own story is enough. It is. When we tell the truth from the heart, our history becomes universal. When we honestly illuminate the Human Condition, we enrich our own lives and the lives of others.” As a playwright I had not written a solo play and once I heeded my own words on the subject I wrote the play I had been mulling around in my head. It began as a diatribe: my frustration with what I was hearing daily as the definition of “true manhood” and the exclusion of gay men like me from the tribe. As I wrote my life experiences I was focusing more and more on my formative relationship with my distant father and then my own fatherhood with my son. I began to see the ways in which the “leading men” in my life’s movie, myself, my father and my son, impacted each of the others. The act of writing and then performing that which is so personal and bald and honest became empowering. The beautiful thing about solo work is that through simplicity there is an invitation to the audience to take part excited by their own imaginations, sparked by their unique emotional vocabulary. “Solo” is a misnomer beyond the fact that it is one person presenting, because the audience becomes essential as the other character in the room. I applaud these listeners because they become transformers, they change the shape of the space, the thickness of the air as they take on the agreement that we will all go into the world after an experience together and celebrate humanity. Lofty, this? Oh, yes I guess. But I have seen and felt it happen and there are times when there is nothing better.