Why Are You Nowhere? is my first two-act play. It tells the story of a tense family reunion deep in the Maine woods, which is disrupted by the arrival of two eerie strangers. As a storm rages outside, the group’s anxieties flare, tensions erupt, and chaos encroaches, until the most vulnerable among them must choose between the painfully familiar and the tempting unknown. In July 2016, Why Are You Nowhere? had its premiere staged reading at the Midtown International Theatre Festival in Manhattan, where it won the Playwrights Award for Staged Reading. It then had its first full production in February 2017 at Southeastern Louisiana University.
I spent my early writing career trying desperately to please other people. I wrote what seemed like stories, what it seemed like people would want to see. And again and again, I ended up with hollow, impersonal work. Even when I wrote and directed West of Her, a deeply personal film, it was still created with an eye to pleasing an audience. And as West of Her went into editing, I decided I needed to have a little fun, write something just for me, with no regard for what an audience might enjoy. A story that would exorcise all the dark, weird corners of the inside of my head.
I wrote Why Are You Nowhere in the first months of 2014, and when I finished, I counted it as a fun exercise and moved on. There was no way this play would ever see the light of day. Who but me could ever be interested in something so uniquely written to amuse just one person?
But the play nagged at me. It was so unlike anything I’d ever written before—it couldn’t bear less of a resemblance to the earnest, emotional West of Her, apart from a predilection for arcane verse—and I couldn’t help caring about it more than so much of my earlier writing. And so exactly two years after I started writing it, I started sending it around. And as I’ve begun to see the positive response to my work, something I never achieved with my more inoffensive early efforts, I’ve realized that maybe the best way to write something with broad resonance is to write something uniquely personal. Not something that seems like a story, but my story.
If you're interested in reading Why Are You Nowhere? for potential licensing, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
BELOW: Production stills from the Southeastern Louisiana University Production of Why Are You Nowhere?
BELOW: The teaser trailer for the staged reading of Why Are You Nowhere? at the Midtown International Theatre Festival