ES: Tara, welcome to The Corner! Can you tell us what kinds of challenges teens face that you address in your plays?
TG: Hi Eugenia! Thanks for interviewing me today! Some of the many issues we address include language choice (that is, what language bilingual teens choose to use inside and outside of school), language discrimination, racism, homophobia, and identity.
ES: What a potent mix of hot issues!! Which play would you say is closest to your heart?
TG: The play that is usually closest to my heart is the one that I’ve most recently completed. My most recent plays are called Harriet’s House and Ana’s Shadow. The plays are about a mother named Harriet, her three daughters Luisa, Ana and Clare and the ways they negotiate the challenges and politics of transnational adoption in a same-sex family.
I think that the plays are important because they portray the moments of “border crossing” (between Canada and Colombia) and these moments have proven to be important for readers and audience members who are deeply engaged in their own identity work.
ES: What I love about a play like that is you mix in scenarios that affect almost everyone. If you’re not in a same-sex family, you might be an immigrant. If you’re not an immigrant, you may be “adopted” in some sense – even if it’s by a stepfather. These plays touch on so many challenges or new experiences we all face. What reactions have you gotten from audiences?
TG: Audience members living in transnationally adopted and same-sex families have told me that they very much appreciated having the issues they face in their everyday lives represented on stage. There aren’t many stories about transnationally adopted and/or same-sex families that have been theatrically staged or made into films. Harriet’s House and Ana’s Shadow tell parts of their own story.
ES: What a great springboard for discussion in classrooms where there is a mix of children with more traditional backgrounds and those with more diverse life experiences. Any plans for writing a book?
TG: I have begun adapting Harriet’s House and Ana’s Shadow into a Young Adult novel.
ES: Excellent! Good luck, and please keep us posted on your progress with that. Thank you so much for stopping by The Corner!
To visit Tara Goldstein, click her name.
Harriet’s House, a contemporary drama about international adoption in a same-sex family, has been published as part of Tara’s book Staging Harriet’s House: Writing and Producing Research-Informed Theatre (Peter Lang 2012).
Ana’s Shadow, the sequel to Harriet’s House, was recently published as one of the three plays in an anthology called Zero Tolerance and Other Plays (Sense Publishers 2013).
Both Harriet’s House and Ana’s Shadow have been professionally and digitally recorded and are available for download, along with discussion guides for the plays, at www.gaileyroad.com.
Tara is also the curator of Women Writing Letters, a fundraising literary event for Gailey Road that takes place four times a year. Women Writing Letters is in its third season.