‘Inheritance’ inches closer to the New York stage

Peter, second from right, with the actors who will be voicing the The Inheritance of Shame, based on his book.

Peter, second from right, with the actors who will be voicing the The Inheritance of Shame, based on his book.

Peter has been in New York this week workshopping his adaptation of The Inheritance of Shame with a bunch of Broadway actors — and will speak about it at The Center in Chelsea on Tuesday — and, dammit, it’s all just hugely exciting.

Rather than try to explain the ins and outs of this myself, I’ll let Peter tell it. This is the email I received from him today:

Since about last September, I’ve been working in collaboration with Playhouse Creatures Theatre Company in New York on a stage play adaptation of my book. Scott Davis, a young queer director in NY, is the director. Another independent producer, Madeleine Goldsmith, came on board because the others felt the play’s potential was too large to handle alone. They hired a casting director, who ultimately found the nine actors we’ve been working with this past week (nine actors playing eleven characters). We had three all-day workshops this week, Tuesday to Thursday; first we did a complete read through of the play, then scene-by-scene workshops, with conversations and a lot of open dialogue. I contributed throughout this process, providing background to my story, character motivation (for all the characters), explaining what this type of “treatment” was all about, and also discussing “conversion therapy” in greater detail, as most of the actors seemed to really only know what they had read in the media.

The play’s main narrative is “Peter” entering therapy in January 1990, and then moving in and living in the Styx house with four other patients, all of whom are under the care of psychiatrist Dr. Alfonzo. The play focusses on Peter's decent into conversion therapy, with Act Two (so far I've only written the first two Acts) ending with him meeting Shane, another gay man who also wants to "change."

Monday night will be a one-night only staged public reading of these first two acts of the play at The Wild Project, in New York's lower east side (Alphabet City). The actors will literally be sitting — no blocking, props, etc. It's really just a reading. The producers have invited industry professionals (other producers, directors, theatre professionals, actors, etc), as well as friends, etc. (latest head count is about 60). The hope is that somebody shows interest in the play and we somehow move forward with ongoing play development. The long-term goal would be a full production at some point down the line.

Tuesday night at The Center in Chelsea is a Q&A between Scott, the director, and myself. I expect we'll talk about the book, the play adaptation, issues like conversion therapy, and then they’ll be a reading and a book signing.

So there you go! You heard it here first — unless you follow us on social media. In which case you probably heard it, like five days ago. (Why aren’t you following us on social media?) :)

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