DAVID WAYNE REED
David Wayne Reed is a playwright, director, producer and actor from Kansas City, Missouri.
Plays include: Help Yourself, Jolly Rancher, Mother Trucker, Mother Trucker 2: Ride On, Sequoia, and Peggy and Paul at the Post Office in Provincetown.
As an actor, he has appeared at the Provincetown Tennessee Williams Theatre Festival, Kansas City Repertory Theatre, Unicorn Theatre, Fishtank Performance Studio, The Living Room, Late Night Theatre, and Seaside Repertory Theatre. He has been awarded two Inspiration Grants from Arts KC, has won multiple Best of Awards from the Pitch Weekly, and has been Writer-In-Residence at Charlotte Street and Escape to Create.
His early career as a founding member of Late Night Theatre is part of the permanent collection of the Gay and Lesbian Archives of Mid-America (GLAMA) at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Reed is a member of the Dramatists Guild of America.
He hosts and produces the popular ‘show and tell’ storytelling series, Shelf Life.
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 off the grid 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. I also 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. These memories inform both my non-fiction (Stag) and theatrical works (Jolly Rancher, Mother Trucker, Mother Trucker 2: Ride On).
The word is my first commitment. The word is my first movement toward creative action. My word is the basis of all that I write, produce, direct, and perform.
I tell stories in the form of live monologues, creative non-fiction, and plays. I share stories that combine wit with grit.
I write because I love to listen.
I perform so I that I’m not alone.
I create art so I can create dialogues so I can create connection.
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 Theatre of the First Person. By sharing stories, my narratives facilitate empathy, self-identification, and compassion. Here, the theatrical fourth wall is cracked, and theatre becomes personal. And the personal becomes universal. In this third space, audience members own memories are triggered and the experience becomes more intimately shared that traditional theatre allows.
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.
Self-reflection and meaningful connection is the goal of all I that I create.
Knowing that I can jump-start dialogues is the reason why I write, produce, and perform.
A friend of mine who taught at a local junior college passed along the following kudos from a disengaged student.
“I made my composition class read your story (The Luck of Ryan) about your old friend mistaking sheep scat for caviar, everyone discussed the meaning of how he’d ‘placed a value on it’ for ten minutes or so, and then a kid who never talks and never reads said, “If everything we read was like this, I might give a shit.”