From Iceland — I AM NOT GAY



Published January 14, 2005

So you’re not gay, then?
No, I am not. It’s pretty funny – people have gotten upset with me, saying I have no business writing about the gay lifestyle. But really, I wasn’t trying to. I was writing, more than anything, about homophobia. Trying to understand it. Explain it. Rationalize it in my head. And the toughest part has been making the main character (who is homophobic), a sympathetic, likable (or at least, not wholly detestable) person. His feelings come not from hatred, but from insecurity, fear, and a terror of the unknown. His feelings towards homosexuality are not universally shared, but the place they come from sort of is.
I´m Not Gay, the Movie
Why have you chosen to express yourself by writing plays rather than, say, screenplays? What can the stage contribute that other media can not?
What I love about the theatre is the immediacy of the audience. When it works, the response is palpable, fresh, in-your-face, un-ignorable. Plus, they’re a whole lot cheaper to produce! A screenplay takes LOTS of resources, people, and money in most cases
But I am working on a movie adaptation of I’m Not Gay.
You have an MFA in playwriting. Can you learn to write in school?
What you can learn is how to write under pressure, how to meet deadlines, but really, the only way to learn writing is through trial-and-error, practise your craft.
Chris Rock and Charlie Chaplin
You have stated that you use humour to make people laugh at things they don’t want to laugh at, such as racism or teenage murder. Do you use humour mostly for its own sake or do you use it as a form of social commentary?
A little of both. The trouble is, comedy for comedy’s sake grows old pretty quickly. I don’t believe in telling jokes that ultimately have no meaning. My favourite stand-up comedians are folks like Chris Rock and George Carlin, who are very funny, but always toss in political and social barbs into the mix. It creates an almost bitter aura around the comedy, and that’s really where my work comes from, too. Lately, my influences have been Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton. They consistently touched on major social issues, such as Hitler, poverty, and racism.
What is the Walt Disney World College program? Are you to playwriting what Justin, Britney and Christina are to pop?
No, actually, I’m more like the guy who pretends to be sweet and innocent so he can get naked pictures of Christina’s ass at the Christmas party. Not that those are hard to get these days…
Mitsubishi Repo Man
I heard Mitsubishi Motors was trying to repossess your car? Have they? Will a hit in Iceland solve the problem?
No, I borrowed money from my brother and have since paid him back. A hit in Iceland would certainly not hurt my wallet, but I doubt it will have a long-term impact on it. Now, if I have several hits in Iceland, well then, that’s a little different…
What do you know about Iceland? Are you coming over for the premiere?
I had a fairy godmother named Þórdís Elva Þorvaldsdóttir agree to translate the play. She was a huge fan of my work from our college days since she was an exchange student here in the US. I have seen Þórdís’ photos, and have met several of her friends when they came to visit. I would love to show up for the premiere but money is still an issue. Plus, I am directing another one of my plays for the Riant Theatre’s Strawberry One-Act Festival in New York City. If Ég er ekki hommi! continues to run through the end of February, I have promised Þórdís that I will fly up there and see it.

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