Review Fix chats with playwright Nick Linnehan, who discusses his new production, “Identity,” breaking down the creative process, goals
About Nick Linnehan:
Linnehan is an avid director, actor, and writer. Previously, he has been busy writing five new original works; His first play, The Real Story was produced in 2001 by The Post Theatre Company. His second play, Identity (award winning), was produced twice by Queens College in 2005, once by Manhattan Repertory Theater in 2006, and by Nicu’s Spoon Theater in 2007. His last original work, Erosion: Life on Life’s Terms premiered in January 2010 at Nicu’s Spoon Theater. He has worked as a director for many children’s shows and taught several drama classes for children over the past 14 years. Nick graduated from CW Post at Long Island University with his BA in Theater and holds a Master’s Degree in Education from Queens College. Nick founded Identity Theater Company in 2011, and is looking forward to making great theater with great people.
Review Fix: What inspired Identity?
Nick Linnehan: Identity was inspired by my difficulties accepting all three aspects of who I am. I wondered what it would be like if identity could be erased. I was having trouble accepting that I was a gay, disabled Catholic and needed a way to express my conflict and hopefully resolve them.
Review Fix: What have you learned through this whole process?
Linnehan: I have learned that collaborating on a new piece of theater is a wonderfully frightening experience but incredibly rewarding if you surround yourself by talented people like I have. I have also learned that no play is ever truly done, there is always further development possible.
Review Fix: Why does Identity matter?
Linnehan: Identity matters because it teaches us to accept who we are and to stop living as a victim because of our identity. It also teaches that it is possible to be things that seem opposite to each other and to make peace with them.
Review Fix: What does this production mean to you?
Linnehan: WOW this production means a lot to me. It means that there is another chance to explore the concept of identity even further and give people hope that they can accept all of themselves. It touches on topics that are not talked about a lot and it’s giving opportunities to disabled actors. It inspires a need to take ownership of my life and to live fully to the best of my abilities. It also provides a chance to heal ourselves through acceptance of who we are.
Review Fix: Who will enjoy this production the most?
Linnehan: That’s a tough question but I hope the audience. I hope they will explore the impression they have of their own identity. Perhaps they will realize that these are only concepts and as a result fight against the limitations that identity can impose on themselves if not kept in the proper perspective.
Review Fix: Bottom line, how do you want to be remembered?
Linnehan: As someone who pushes the envelope of what is considered possible on stage. I want to be remembered as an advocate for the inclusion of actors with disabilities. Lastly I want to be remembered as a humanitarian who fought for fairness and equality in terms of representation of artists with disabilities
Review Fix: What’s next?
Linnehan: I hope to collaborate with Theater Breaking Through Barriers on a production of Richard III which combines Verbatim Theatre about the lived experience of persons with disabilities within the play. By creating a hybrid play consisting of verbatim interviews alongside Shakespearean text I hope to create a unique theatrical experience for the audience.
Review Fix: Anything else you’d like to add?
Linnehan: Come see if the show as you won’t know what to expect next as I, the actor, often do not know myself.
To learn more about Identity visit identitytheater.com