The Scars and the Moon: Theatrical Monologues Telling LGBTQIA+ Stories

May 1, 2020   /  

Student: Casey Lohman
Major: Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
Minors: English, Theater, Communication Studies
Advisors: Dr. Natasha Bissonauth, Dr. Ahmet Atay

Casey LohmanFor my IS I wrote a play titled The Scars and the Moon. I conducted a series of interviews with students who are a part of the LGBTQIA+ community and feel like their stories are ignored or erased in the media. From these interviews I developed 10 theatrical monologues, which I then wove together to form the full play script. In this presentation I discuss the playwriting process, including initial conception, theatrical influences, queer theoretical frameworks, and the impacts of LGBTQIA+ theater. These topics of discussion are divided with excerpts from the script.

Casey will be online to field comments on May 8:
2-4pm EDT (PST 11am-1pm, Africa/Europe: evening)

65 thoughts on “The Scars and the Moon: Theatrical Monologues Telling LGBTQIA+ Stories”

  1. I really enjoyed your presentation Casey! The mixing of excerpts from your play with your presentation made it really engaging for me. I’m curious do you have a favorite monologue that you wrote? What makes it your favorite? On the flip side was there a monologue that was particularly difficult to write? Do you have plans for your play post-Wooster?

    1. Thank you, I’m glad you found it engaging! I don’t think I can choose a favorite, honestly. I enjoy each of them for different reasons. The most difficult to write, though, was Reasons for Dreaming. The excerpt from that one that I included was the part about the sky and flying. This one was difficult because I did not have a clear understanding of the character’s voice going in. I rewrote this monologue entirely, and at this point it looks nothing like it originally did. I was planning to produce the show this summer; with everything going on, that production was cancelled, but I hope to try again next year.

  2. Fine work. I would like to hear/view the play. I am impressed with how you have woven brief excerpts from it with clear explanations of your critical influences and goals.

  3. I found this extremely interesting. I love the way you discuss how the monologues fit together and that even if the actors never fully engage each other, they still respond and are still part of the community as a whole. I’d love to know more about the community of people you interviewed. Were they all students? All part of the college community in some fashion (staff, faculty, etc.)? Or did you expand to non-college-focused community groups? I’d love to read the full play script, and I wish you all the success in the future!

    1. All of the participants were students.

      Those interested in reading the script may contact me at my college email.

    2. I second what Amy mentioned above — intrigued by your discussion of the structure of the monologues. I too would be interested to read the full script, and perhaps assisting you with finding a way to produce this (I am on faculty at a university in PA).

      Congratulations on finishing IS and graduating from Wooster! Know that fellow Theatre and Dance graduates are applauding you from afar.

  4. Casey,
    What a terrific IS! S wish we could have heard it in person, but your recording helps tremendously in sharing/explaining their/your stories. What a beautiful method for telling important and often unheard voices.

    Congratulations! I will miss you around the theatre:)

    1. Thank you so much Shirley!

      I will miss being there. I plan to at least come see the shows next year, though!

  5. You are so awesome, Casey! This presentation is outstanding – I could sit and listen all day!!! I only wish I could have seen your play. You presented beautifully; you have a gift. I miss you and I wish you only the very best as you move on from Wooster. I certainly hope you will stay in touch. Until our paths cross again, take care and thank you for all you have been and done.

    With admiration,

    1. Thank you Sandi! That means a lot. I hope to see you many times in the next year, since I’ll be in the area for a bit.

      Thank you for making the CDI such a welcoming place to visit. I’ll miss seeing you every day when I come in to work.

  6. This is a fascinating project. I hope that you’re able to find a performance space for the play.

  7. Casey, what a fantastic project. Your work with SafeZone worked to bring understanding of various identities to Wooster’s attention, and your play seems like a much more accessible and universal form of the same thing. I hope that you are able to continue this work as you move on to your next thing. Thank you for all you have done!

    1. Thank you. My work with Safe Zone definitely influenced this project. I fully intend to continue this work in the future. I hope to continue writing plays as long as I have ideas for them.

  8. Excellent and thoughtful presentation Casey! Thank you for sharing it.

  9. This project is beautiful and so, so necessary. Your work in creating community is admirable, and the representation of those who fall outside the norms even within the LGBTQ+ community is important for those of us who feel untethered from a group we are supposed to belong in and be welcomed by. I really enjoyed this presentation, and your explanation of queer theory terms is helpful and easy to understand. Great work, and congratulations. I am so proud to know you.

    1. Thank you so much Sam. I hope that my work is able to make a positive impact on many people who don’t see themselves represented often or ever.

  10. I found this extremely interesting. Nice work, Casey! I completely agree that theatre is a particularly powerful medium in which to center narratives that are currently outside the mainstream. It’s also so true that while it’s getting better, there still are not enough examples of LGBTQIA+ stories that occupy the margins, and that even in the community, there are gradients of acceptance. By pushing forward with projects like yours, we expand the vocabulary and the normalization of the full spectrum of human identity. (Having done my I.S. 25ish years ago on gender-bending in theatre, non-traditional casting and similar themes, I can attest there’s still quite a long way to go!) I’m also grateful to you shining a light on the concept of amatonormativity (I myself use the term monogamarchy but it’s a very similar idea). I would be very interested in reading the whole play or seeing it staged. Best of luck to you!

    1. Your I.S. sounds fascinating! I’m honored to be doing this work alongside you. I have never heard the term monogamarchy before; thank you for introducing me to it.

      Anyone interested in reading the full script may contact me at my college email.

  11. I thoroughly enjoyed hearing your presentation and would be interested in seeing your entire project, if possible. Congratulations on such an important, relevant, and creative IS. I’m so fortunate to have learned with you this past year and wish you the best of luck in your post-college ventures!

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed it! Feel free to email me if you want to read the full script. I am honored to have had the opportunity to work with you over the past year. Thank you!

  12. Casey,
    Thanks for sharing your presentation! I would love to read the entire play if you are willing to share.

    I have enjoyed interacting with you on campus. You have always been a strong and positive voice. You will be missed!

    I wish you all the best in your life beyond Wooster.

    Keep writing–shine on!

    1. I would be happy to share! I’ll send you the script if you email me!

      Thank you very much. I fully intend to keep writing, and your support means a lot.

  13. I really like your title and how you opened your video with part of one of your monologues. This is such powerful research! Congratulations!

  14. Casey –

    I so appreciated hearing your presentation today. The voices of many that often aren’t heard or validated.

    All good things to you as you move forward from this place. Thank you for all your work done here.
    Take care

    1. Thank you Anne, I’ve enjoyed working with you these past few years!

  15. Congratulations Casey! It’s such a shame that your work couldn’t be performed in the way you pictured. I really appreciate how you explained your reasons for making certain artistic decisions and how you queered the form of theater. Good luck with everything after Wooster.

  16. Casey,

    Congratulations! This play sounds so interesting and I hope you will be able to present it someday. How long is it when performed? Listening to your presentation also taught me some new words! Fabulation and Amatonormativity!!

    1. Thank you very much! The full show would run approximately 60 to 90 minutes. I’m glad you learned new words!

  17. Casey, this is fascinating. I so want to see it performed. I like how you queer monologues by weaving different monologues together. I can’t wait to look at the theorists you mentioned! I’ve only read Queer about Comics by Darieck Scott and Ramzi Fawaz.

  18. Your presentation was eye-opening for this old straight white small-town male alumnus…I don’t think I’d heard the phrase ‘queer norms’ before 🙂 but I totally get it now. Thanks for that, and best of luck with this going forward!

  19. This is awesome! Did you ever consider doing a more traditional play or did you know you wanted monologues from the get-go?

    1. I knew I wanted to write monologues for this project because I wanted to give each character the chance to take the spotlight. I was worried that with a traditional play I would favor some characters or stories over others. This way, I was able to tell each story.

  20. Casey, thank you! It’s been a joy to follow your progress on this. I’m intrigued by the issue of what might be called “queer-normativity,” which is unable to accept the diversity of queer experiences and insists instead on reducing them to some sort of norm. I suspect that just mirrors hetero-normativity, which is fundamentally a refusal to accept any sort of diversity—as though there were only one way to be straight! The very best to you. I look forward to hearing much from you in the future!

    1. I failed to say how much I appreciate your making queer diversity the true norm!

      1. Thank you very much!

        Yes, the two issues are very interconnected. The queer norm largely stems from pressure to fit straight norms. The idea behind that is that LGBT+ people will be accepted if they manage to fit the straight norms perfectly – but happen to be attracted to people of similar genders. This line of thinking argues that people can’t choose who they love, so if they make an effort to adhere to societal norms then they will not be marginalized. This is why the queer movement shifted to a focus on “gay marriage” as a goal, instead of pushing for widespread acceptance of queer lives. This is harmful to LGBTQIA+ people who don’t or can’t fit that norm, whether it’s because of their queer identity and/or any other identities they may have. With this project, and other similar work, I am pushing back against that norm.

  21. Hi Casey,
    Congratulations on completing your IS! Such an accomplishment. Your work is invaluable to the world and I wish you all the best as you move forward in your pursuits. Are there a lot of theatrical works or productions that address queer diversity or not? I am guessing not and I certainly hope that your production is one that expands the offerings for all. Thank you for sharing and congrats again!

    1. Thank you so much! I have not seen or heard of much theater related to queer diversity. I do not doubt that smaller theaters and productions have happened, but I have not heard of any that have gotten widespread attention. If anyone knows of any shows that they would recommend, please let me know! I would love to check them out.

  22. Casey, congratulations on everything you’ve achieved in providing space for these voices to be heard. I’m glad you plan to produce the play in the future–keep us posted! Meanwhile, thanks for sharing your work through this beautiful and creative presentation.

    1. Thank you so much! I will definitely keep folks keep folks updated on the production process.

  23. This is AMAZING, Casey. It is so exciting to see how your project came to fruition after having the privilege of working with you as you began to work on it in Jr IS last year. The excerpts of your creative work interspersed with your analysis is beautifully done & so effective in getting across your passion for the project. A perfect example of critical queer public scholarship!

    1. Thank you so much, Christa. I’m honored I got to work with you for Junior IS. That was the class that inspired this project, and I have truly enjoyed the process. I have learned so much from you over the last few years.

  24. I noticed that throughout your presentation, you added bits of what I assume to be the monologues; that was quite clever and queer. I appreciate your motives for this work, and I saw that you mentioned the desire to share queer community through theater. In what ways have you found theater validating to your queer experience? When participating in theater, how do you queer the space?
    Additionally, what did you find to be the most challenging part of your research?
    Thank you for a wonderful insight into your IS, well done!

    1. Yes, I included pieces of some of the monologues throughout.

      Theater encourages people to experience other lives and stories. When I was younger, theater was a space where I could play with gender expression and identity and figure out what I was most comfortable with. Now, I queer the space by actively working to make everyone feel at home. I am a stage manager as well as a playwright. That role gives me the ability to create an environment of inclusion. As a playwright, as you have seen, I create roles for those who are not often represented and tell stories that aren’t often heard.

      The most challenging part of my work was the creative translation process. I struggled at times to capture the story and voice of the person I interviewed while still creating a character who is distinct from the participant.

      Thank you so much, Aaron!

  25. Casey, thanks so much for sharing this thoughtful project that combines criticism, creativity, and practice (as you say, public scholarship)! I was so excited to learn more about this aspect of your work after learning from you in SafeZone this year. A couple of questions–first, I would indeed love to see this staged and I will email you for the script. I’m wondering what (if anything) you have been thinking about the various approaches to online performance that have been taking shape during the pandemic. It seems to me that the common practice of individuals performing over a Zoom-type platform might support some aspects of your planned production but make it harder to enact others (most obviously having the characters respond and interact to one another’s monologues in the same room!).

    Second, can you share again your key sources on the fantastic aspects of the project and the theories behind it? This dimension of your work is really fascinating to me! Thanks again and congratulations!!!

    1. I look forward to your email!

      I think it’s fantastic that some theaters and performers have been able to transition to online performances. I fully support all the various formats that people have been using to keep doing the work they love and to make it more widely accessible.

      While it would be difficult to perform this particular show entirely over Zoom or a similar video chat because of the interjections and interaction, individual monologues would be perfect for that format. Each monologue can stand alone, and I believe that the stories would benefit from being shared in that fashion.

      The theoretical sources I drew most heavily from are:
      The New Mutants: Superheroes and the Radical Imagination of American Comics by Ramzi Fawaz
      Disidentifications – José Esteban Muñoz
      Cruising Utopia: the Then and There of Queer Futurity – José Esteban Muñoz
      Afro-Fabulations: The Queer Drama of Black Life – Tavia Nyong’o

      The New Mutants is the book I looked at to understand fantasy and the political implications of the fantastical.

      1. Thanks so much–maybe something to work on in the time between now and next summer!

  26. I really loved the way that you interspersed segments of your play with your presentation! It really added to it and I loved hearing it out loud after reading it! It was really interesting to hear about all of your research and places you pulled inspiration and information from. Congratulations on all of your work!

  27. Hi Casey,

    I really like your presentation and look forward to reading the full play. When you do eventually get to produce it, I’ll be there! Listening to your presentation and talking with you over the years has greatly broadened my understanding of what is normal and what it means to be invisible. Great work, and congratulations!

    1. Thank you so much, and thank you for your support through everything. Thank you for encouraging me to do what I felt passionate about and what interests me.

  28. Hi Casey! I am so proud of your work at Wooster, and your IS project shows how well you are able to blend your school experience with your personal experience into a meaningful project. I enjoyed listening to your presentations, and I can’t wait to eventually see this on a stage. I wish you the absolute best in your future projects!

    1. Thank you for everything! I will see you there when it’s finally produced.

  29. Casey,

    Thank you for using your talent and research to shine a light on voices that need to be better represented. Your presentation was incredibly engaging and I am curious to read or see the final work. Hopefully you will be able to produce it soon! Congratulations on your graduation!

  30. Dear Casey,

    Thank you so much for sharing your IS work, and congratulations!! From the the excerpts of the work that you offer here, it’s clear that The Scars and the Moon is beautiful, powerful and important. I so appreciate your explanation of your process and thinking in developing it, and in bringing forward voices with such fidelity to the experiences of those with whom you spoke. I hope that the play is staged soon – and would love to see it. I am sure that it will be meaningful to all of its audiences!

    Wishing you all the best for your future, and again, congratulations!!
    Pres. Bolton

  31. This is so empowering. Thank you, Casey! I wish you the best and congratulations!

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