Out Front Theatre Company, Atlanta’s premier theatre showcasing stories of the LGBTQIA community, presents A Kid Like Jake now through February 26th.
This production tells the story of two parents and their extraordinary son, Jake. He’s just a normal kid who would rather dress as Snow White, instead of the Prince. It’s admissions season for exclusive private schools in the Manhattan area, and Alex and Greg want only the best for Jake. As they go through this admissions process, they begin to notice behaviors that causes a growing concern among the adults that interact with him. A Kid Like Jake shows what it’s like to love unconditionally instead of responding and falling into societal standards. I was fortunate enough to speak with some of the cast of the production (Lisa Boyd – Judy; Kasie Slay – Nurse), as well as Out Front’s Founder and Producing Artistic Director (Paul Conroy) about the show. Check it out:
Wendell: What’s it like to bring this all too-common story of the LGBTQIA community to the stage?
Paul Conroy: I think a Kid Like Jake may be a common story to some, but it is told through a perspective that is not the norm. Looking at a story of who we are on the inside from the viewpoint of the people who birthed and raise us as opposed to a first person perspective reaches new horizons of understanding. Parents who may or may not have a child from the LGBTQIA community can look at the piece and connect with it like any parent could; am I making the right choices for my child? How do I know who my child will become and how my choices will impact them? These are universal parenting questions that this show addresses.
Wendell: When you are portraying these characters, does the story become difficult for you at any point? The emotions that these characters feel? The things that they say, are they surprising?
Kasie Slay: Even though all of the circumstances in the play are things I have never dealt with myself, I think that the emotions my characters go through are ones I definitely empathize with. The most difficult part honestly was portraying a character who had no real sense of what was going on with Alex, even though I as an actor know the circumstances inside and out.
Wendell: Did you have any “a-ha” moments during rehearsals or read-throughs? Did that moment help you grow as a person? Has it stuck with you?
Lisa Boyd: Aha moments…yes. When I talk about “gender variant” play, I started thinking back on my own childhood and realized that I was in fact gender variant in my own play. I rarely played with dolls or “girl” things. I was always more into tree climbing, lizards and toads.
Wendell: Aside from simply landing a gig, what compelled you to audition for this show?
Wendell: What do you think the audience will take from A Kid Like Jake when they leave Out Front and head back to their homes? What about it do you think will touch them the most?
Paul Conroy: Without a doubt, this is a show that will make you think and talk. I think the universality of the piece speaks for itself. Everyone who sees this show is going to take something different away with them. Its not a production that you just let wash over you, you will find yourself treading water and looking around for where to turn next – even inside your own mind. Its impossible to say for certain what each audience member will take away from it, but I think that shows the power and the beauty of the piece.