David Wayne Reed
Studio Resident (2013-2014)
Rocket Grant (2017)
Exhibitions/Performances (2008, 2011, 2015)
Statement of Work
Growing up on a farm in Louisburg, Kansas without formal creative outlets for my talents, I created my own venues for self-expression. We lived in the country connected to the world by dirt road and antenna—the CB, the AM/FM, and in small doses, the TV. Alone, with the nearest neighbors miles away, I found creative spark in the solitude of my imagination.
Rural life can be lonely. I desperately desired an audience, a connection. When people would come to visit the farm, I finally had a captive audience. I performed impromptu drag numbers for visiting seed salesmen. I danced for the hay crew. I performed Shakespeare in grain silos for the booming acoustics. These memories inform both my non-fiction (Stag) and my theatrical works.
From my trucking musicals, Mother Trucker and Mother Trucker 2: Ride On to Jolly Rancher, my one-man show about growing up gay on a farm, I have transported farm and country to the city with those productions. Currently, my work has made a prodigal shift and I have returned to my rural homeland to make a new artistic connection: to put the art in agriculture with my short film, Eternal Harvest.
I write because I love to listen. I perform so I know that I’m not alone. I record my life and my responses to the seemingly incongruous subcultures and communities that have shaped me. My work, like myself, is rooted in their unlikely overlap. I seek to entertain and enlighten while conveying my first-person experience. Mine is a non-fiction performance style, or what I call ‘Theatre of the First Person.’ By sharing stories, these narratives facilitate empathy, self-identification, and compassion. Here, the theatrical fourth wall is cracked, and theatre becomes personal.
My play, Help Yourself, is a dark comedy masquerading as a self-help seminar and audience members find themselves immersed in their own personal narratives while at a theatrical installation of a self-help retreat. My installation, Inner Monologue, consisted of a full-length mirror and a set of headphones. Viewers put on the headset and gazed into the mirror while hearing repeating affirmations forcing them into a performative act of self-reflection, of becoming. My storytelling series, Shelf Life, democratizes the performance stage and facilitates first person narratives through a themed ‘show and tell’ live show.