Matthew Greene's ADAM AND STEVE AND THE EMPTY SEA to Open 8/9 at FringeNYC
Matthew Greene, a Brigham Young University graduate and practicing Mormon, is preparing for the New York City premier of "Adam and Steve and the Empty Sea," his new play that tackles the issues of Mormonism and marriage equality. After a sold-out and critically acclaimed world premier at Plan B Theatre in Salt Lake City, the production will transfer to the New York International Fringe Festival, playing August 9-15. Directed by Jerry Rapier, the production will feature Topher Rasmussen and Logan Tarrantino as its title characters.
The play, which was described by Salt Lake City Weekly as "quietly engrossing in its thorny humanity," is a personal one for Greene who found himself caught in the middle of California's Proposition 8 campaign in 2008: a devout Mormon who didn't feel comfortable with the direction many of his fellow church members were heading. "I was disappointed and confused with the way the issue (of marriage equality) was being discussed on BYU campus and within the church," Greene explained. "I started to wonder why two parties who both preach values of family, love, and acceptance couldn't seem to find common ground on this issue. That's where the play came from."
"Adam and Steve and the Empty Sea" tells the story of two childhood friends: one openly gay and the other openly Mormon. These characters grapple, as the playwright did, with issues of religion, sexuality, politics, and adulthood as they try to hold on to their friendship in a world that pulls them increasingly farther apart. Director Jerry Rapier, who recently adopted a son with his husband, says of the play's message, "The real victories lie in the middle ground, in compromise, in what comes from not just listening but actually hearing what's being said to you from a point of view you may not agree with."
Through the course of its development and production, the play has seen audience members from both "sides of the aisle," from conservative Salt Lake City theatregoers to a crowd of LGBT youth and allies at last year's OUTreach Youth Summit. People of varying political and religious persuasions, say Greene and Rapier, have responded positively to the play. As a devout and progressive Mormon, this is important to the playwright who recently marched in New York's Pride Parade with a group of LGBT-Affirmative Mormons. "I feel like positive change is taking place in that community," he says. "And I'm happy to be a part of it."
"Adam and Steve and the Empty Sea" is playing at the New York International Fringe Festival in Venue #3, the CSV Kabayitos theatre?(107 Suffolk Street at Rivington & Delancey) August 9 @ 5p, August 10 @ 7p, August 11 @ 12p, August 13 @ 7:45p (with post-show discussion), August 14 @ 4:45p, and August 15 @ 9:15p. Tickets are available at www.fringenyc.org