Acting for a work-in-progress: Tom Zhang

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The cast of Here to Love You Uncomfortable

Developed during Brave New Works 2016, Here to Love You Uncomfortable is a stage adaptation of Please, Jericho Brown’s American Book Award-winning collection of poetry that explores the intersections of love and violence, African American male identity and sexuality. 

In this blog post, Tom Zhang shares his experience serving as an actor in this developmental workshop.

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Tom at work in rehearsal.

Working on Here to Love You Uncomfortable was… intense. The script underwent major rewrites several times as the director and the poet worked to dramatize the poetry. In the end the poems became more like monologues and soliloquies, and so we had to perform them as such, sometimes fighting urges to read them according to the organization of lines rather than the organization of punctuation. Watching the adaptation in progress was honestly fun, because we got to see the writer and director negotiate each other’s roles in the rehearsal process and creation process. Personally, I learned how adapting poetry can be done by finding the themes of the poems and creating a narrative based off of the through-lines.

~Tom Zhang

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