Tuscon not only has excellent actors but accomplished playwrights living right here. Notable among these is Monica Bauer. The month of November will feature not just one but two of her plays at local venues.
First up is a reading of Christmas Break courtesy of Winding Road Theatre, followed the next week by a full production of her highly acclaimed one-man show Made For Each Other.
In total she has written four plays with gay characters, so audiences will get a chance to see half of that portion of her work. These are not, she explains, gay plays. “I write plays about people, not about gay people. Stereotype is the enemy of all art: I just write human beings.” Made For Each Other entwines two facts of modern life that have rarely, if ever, been explored in a play: gay marriage and Alzheimer’s.
Her Mother’s battles with Alzheimer’s became a key impetus for writing this play. “By the time I wrote it in 2011 she has been in an institution for years. She passed away in 2014.” The other element portrayed in the play, what happens when one member of a gay marriage develops the disease, has become a stellar vehicle for the talents of New York City actor John Fico. “I wanted to write a play for John. I met him in New York after I went back to school for grad studies when I was 52. He has pretty much never been in the closet!”
When she and John first staged Made For Each Other at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, “gay marriage was still not legal in Scotland. However the reviews were fabulous – they all came in the last 2 days of the Festival and it made me cry.”
I asked her if playwrights typically thought their work is excellent and expected at least some measure of accolades in reviews. No, she said emphatically. “Creative people are insecure in the extreme. People who think their work is great are amateurs.” Professionals, by contrast, “have a very low self-esteem of their own work. We all expect our reviews are going to be awful!”
Made For Each Other is only a hour long, tailored to fit the time limit imposed by the Edinburgh Festival. I asked her if this was a help or hindrance to her creative endeavour. “It is a great thing to have a guard rail, “ she explained. “My work tends to go like a freight train. I’m story-oriented, action oriented. The paths my characters pursue are something important to them- they’re not sitting around chatting.”
The benefit of her lifelong role in theatre (“I’ve been on and off on stage since I was 2”) will be on display here in Tucson this month. Go see both of them!
(Photo from her website, monicabauer.com)
Christmas Break: at Scoundrel and Scamp Theatre, 738 N 5th Ave.; www.windingroadtheatre.org
When: Sat., Nov. 9, 7:30 p.m. and Sun., Nov. 10, 2 p.m.