Gay and Christian. If that doesn't seem difficult enough, set the story - based on the real life story of playwright Ty Autry, deep in the South, where something as challenging as coming out is magnified several times over by cultural norms.
For this first-time playwright, telling and performing the story is more than theatre, it's a mission that has taken him all over the world in a very short time. We had the opportunity to interview Mr. Autry for this article, and in more depth on video, as he prepares for a return to New York City as part of the upcoming FRIGID New York Theatre Festival at The Kraine Theater. Here is what Ty had to share.
LocalTheatreNY: Tell us about your play and why you chose to submit to the Frigid New York Festival?
Ty Autry: A Southern Fairytale explores the intersection between queer identity and faith. I wanted to write a show based on my own personal experiences of growing up in the Deep South and what it was like exploring my relationship with God, myself, and my family. We submitted to the FRIGID Festival because I wanted to explore new text before jumping into an international tour. Plus, it felt right to kick things off in New York where it all began about two years ago in my living room!
LocalTheatreNY: How do you think this work will play with New York audiences? And as a comparison what kind of feedback have you received thus far?
Ty Autry: I think they'll find the majority of the show super engaging and funny, despite the darker undertones and context of the play itself. It will also shed a light on how things in the South aren't always as pretty as they seem. There is still a lot of work to do to protect queer-identifying individuals. Previously, the most common response we have gotten is a sense of healing from past trauma or experiences. Something about the story is able to give a new perspective on past events and radically change your outlook on your past.
LocalTheatreNY: This is a very personal story that's been fictionalized. Who do you feel is your core audience? Who would you like to invite to see your play?
Ty Autry: Funny enough, we feel like parents and friends of queer individuals are the ones who need to hear this story the most. It sheds a light on what we went through when coming out about 10 years ago and helps to bring awareness around the marginalized. With that being said, I invite every queer person, whatever your faith background/history might be, to come step inside this fairytale with me and live out a story of hope and peace.
LocalTheatreNY: What's next? Are you traveling to another festival, raising funds...what's the challenge of taking a play like this on the road?
Ty Autry: We are hitting the road on an international tour from late-April through September! So far we are doing Tampa International Fringe, Prague Fringe, Capital City Fringe, Calgary Fringe, and Belgrade Pride Festival. Currently, looking and talking with a few more cities to bring the total number of destinations to 10! Our goal is to raise $10,000 to make this tour a possibility and I'm hoping to raise that capital by the end of April (donate here!). The biggest challenge is probably getting into new venues and not having a clue as to how it will all work till you step foot in the space! I've never been to most of these places or even done a tour before, so it is a huge learning experience right now.
Catch A Southern Fairytale starting February 19th for 5 performances only at The Kraine Theater. Visit: https://www.frigid.nyc/events/asouthernfairytale
Photo ]: Mike Glatzer Photography
Watch the full interview on YouTube here: