About My Work
As an actor, writer and teaching artist I view my work as an artistic extension of the social justice work that I have been committed to for the last 30 years. I self identify as an artist with a disability which has led me to explore questions about how we function inside and outside of our bodies. Our physical selves carry us through the world and while they are a significant part of who we are they are not the totality. We are part of a culture that valuesperfection as a norm and those who live outside of that norm is part of a larger conversation that I want to have with audiences. The central theme that I keep coming back to in all of my writing is the cross-cultural intersections between the Deaf, Disability and Mental Health community and our culture at large. These are all values that I hold as important to who I am as an artist and an individual.
I have been interpreting for my Deaf parents since I was a child. It was my job to connect the hearing world to the Deaf world. I was the bridge that connected one group of people to another and sometimes my parents would pay me a quarter because even back they knew the value in that endeavor. I know there are communities, individuals, theaters, and artists who understand the same value. I come to the theater with an agenda: I want to continue making art that challenges audiences and that is unapologetically political because I want to change the world.
• Recipient: Fellowship-3Arts/UIC Department of Disability in the Arts and Culture
• Ragdale/3Arts Award Nominee
• Residency; Quad-City Visiting Artist
• Resident Playwright- Chicago Dramatists
• Artist in Residence- Quad Cities Arts Program, Rock Island, Illinois
• Associate Artist-16th Street Theater 16th Street Theater, Berwyn, Illinois
Where All Of It Is True and None Of It Is Real (Full length)
*Semi-finalist, O’Neil National Playwrights Conference
Four remaining contestants desperately vie for the grand prize on the Reality show “WHAMPO” described as “Survivor meets Big Brother meets Fear Factor meets Project Runway meets the Hunger Games without the killing.” Contestants forge and break alliances with lies and subterfuge. Everyone has something to hide, no one is who they appear to be and race, identity, gender, age, class, and disability are all unnamed cast members. “WHAMPO” is an exploration of what people are willing to lose in order to win.
A Little Bit Not Normal (Full-Length Solo)
*Semi-finalist Blue Ink Playwriting Award
In this autobiographical solo show, Arlene confronts her own state of mind when Depression walks into her kitchen, lights a cigarette and makes himself at home. The third solo piece in her “Disability Quartet” A Little Bit Not Normal is a serious comedy about Depression and naming it, claiming it and standing to be counted. It’s a journey of a love story tested and the secrets we keep about crazy.
Full Disclosure (Full Length)
A family orbits around their deeply troubled daughter as they all struggle with the sudden appearance of her sperm donor father whom she has tracked down out of revenge. His appearance and her disappearance reveal the deceptions that this "Mean Girl" has so carefully crafted. It untangles secrets about identity, class, family and how disability affects the family constellation. The play also examines the shadowy, controversial, multi-billion dollar enterprise world of the “unregulated reproductive industry.”
Aiming For Sainthood (Full Length Solo Play)
When her Deaf mother gets cancer a middle-aged daughter moves back into her childhood room with 2 questions: "Where is God?" &"Who took my Springsteen Poster?"
Interrobang (Short Play)
*Semi-Finalist Heartland Theatre’s-New Plays from the Heartland Competition.
Megan is taken on a tour of a senior living facility by resident Elizabeth, who points out “beautifully appointed residences of all kinds and a tree that has been standing for over 150 years if you believe what they say”. Elizabeth’s Alzheimer’s stirs forgotten memories and secrets revealed.