"If Love is the Answer, You're Home": Why I Wrote 'Count Yourself Among the Lucky')
Yes, it's about [REDACTED]. No, I can't post that on Facebook/Instagram lest I get disowned. IYKYK.
This Friday and Saturday, Count Yourself Among the Lucky will have its first in-person staged readings as part of Sin Muros: A Borderless Teatro Festival. When I went into the first Zoom meeting of AlterTheater Ensemble’s AlterLab First Acts Residency, I remember telling my peers and facilitator that I wanted to write a Western love story. It sort of happened.
Like many, the beginning of the pandemic upended my plans to stay in my Texan hometown for the summer at most, hoping on maybe spending a year and getting involved with the local theater scene before skedaddling on to a city away from my family where I can “authentically” live as myself. Obviously that didn’t happen, and I had to quickly made peace with essentially getting stuffed back into the closet against my will. That, combined with my mental health, binge watching Neon Genesis Evangelion in that hrorrendous Spanish dub, and listening to “Touch” by Daft Punk & Paul Williams changed CYATL.
It’s a love story, yes, but it slowly became something indignant with teeth. Instead of falling in love, Andy and Belén fall out of love. Belén’s going through it, and Andy can’t be the one to help. Belén’s is dealing with resurfaced memories of abuse, and Andy really just wants to move out of the city, state, maybe even the country. Belén thinks their romantic relationship will save them, and Andy knows only true community can do that. (Big “Dame Un Beso Y Dime Adiós” vibes.)
People always comment that their relationship is lived in and realistic, but honestly, these characters are just personifications of different parts of myself duking it out in my brain every day. Do I stay like this? Do I take a risk? Do I move out? Do I make my life here? Do I say something? Do I keep my mouth shut, just for a little bit longer? I don’t fucking know. But I’m glad I have Andy and Belén to help me learn a little bit more of myself every time I write them. If love is the answer, you’re home, after all.
If you’re in Houston, I hope to see you this weekend. If not but you still want to check this out, you can watch Telatúlsa’s recording of CYATL on Facebook, or I can send you the script.
Happy Valentine’s Day,