In “First Lady?” De De Deville’s one-act play explores homosexuality and politics in American culture.
Homosexuality and politics is as American as…Well, exactly how these two forces are intertwined in the social and cultural fabric of America is the subject of a one-act play titled “First Lady?” It’s in development by De De DeVille and funded by a 2013-2014 Rocket Grant.
DeVille will write, produce and star in the play that takes the form of an interview in a Washington, D.C. hotel room on the evening of her husband’s inauguration to his second term as president. By year’s end, DeVille will complete the playwriting process. “First Lady?” will première at the Fishtank Performance Studio in May 2014.
“The idea for the play started as a thought I had while cleaning the house one day. I just wondered about the fact that if they painted the White House a different color, like pink, would it still be called the White House? This tickled me and I then wondered about how I would handle becoming the first lady?” says DeVille, born and raised in McPherson, Kan., and a veteran of the local theater community, including performances in Late Night Theatre over a ten-year period. “From there it just sort of took on a life of its own due to all the humor I could find in that situation.”
The story examines what the future could hold as social progress occurs in the United States. It also reflects the changes that have already occurred for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered citizens in the U.S.
“The conversation combining gays and politics was started a long time ago, but it seems to be much more in the news due to the marriage discussion, and concerns about equality,” she says. “So I think now more than ever is a perfect time to hold a mirror up to society and ourselves and point out that some people’s idea of the worst thing happening, such as gays getting married, will not be the end of the world and may even have some humor in it.”
For DeVille, “First Lady?” is about hope and change. DeVille’s hope is to use the play as a way to create a discussion about how people view those whom they perceive to be different and how political divisions arise. She plans to incorporate humor and common sense to deliver this message to audiences.
“What I find silly is that 99% of people all seem to want the same thing––security, stability and to make a better world for their children,” she says. “But we seem to have become a society that says, ‘If it wasn’t my idea, then it is no good.’ This idea is easier to digest if we can all laugh together at some of the silliness of this by watching a fictional character tackle these issues and sometimes messing up, but coming out the other end smarter, stronger and a better person for it.”
While social progress is perceived to be about positive outcomes, the challenge is that people in society have different views about what that outcome should be. DeVille observes, “Not all progress is necessarily good. There are some growing pains if you try to advance too quickly, but in general, growing, learning and advancing as a human race, hopefully to a more compassionate and caring group, should be the goal of any ‘so-called’ developed country.”