A few weeks back, Aaron Gell from the New York Observer called to interview me about my play Feeder: A Love Story. The conversation was casual and focused on the play’s development. It was similar to other interviews I gave over the past month to Tom Murrin, Adam Szymkowicz and Zack Calhoon.
Then, our conversation turned to my research. Specifically, Mr. Gell wanted to know if I spoke to anyone in the feederism community. Being very private people, I wasn’t compelled to share many details. I did mention that the feederism blog, FeedeeWorld, picked up our press release about the play, discovered the play’s character blog, and organized a group to see the play’s first preview performance. Mr. Gell thanked me for my time, and proceeded to find FeedeeWorld and Fantasy Feeder. He posted requests for interviews at both sites. He planned to attend the same preview performance with the feederism group and hoped to ask them questions.
Because this play examines the media’s exploitation of sub-cultures and fringe groups, I have a few opinions and reservations about the media, and when one of the bloggers at FeedeeWorld told me Mr. Gell reached out to her, I encouraged her to be cautious. Though Mr. Gell reassured me his article would maintain participants’ anonymity and respect their lifestyles, I was still skeptical.
To my surprise, Mr. Gell did not attend the first preview of the play, but the group organized on FeedeeWorld did.
The original version of Feeder: A Love Story, written in 2006, was a solo play. I shared an experience here about two audience members confronting me after a performance about my intentions. Needless to say, when I discovered a group from the online community Fantasy Feeder was attending this new production, my heart jumped a little. Would they be angry? Would they be satisfied with the work I’ve done to depict this lifestyle honestly?
Happily, the group was open, responsive and generally pleased with the play. We had a wonderful discussion about their concerns, and they even offered some dramaturgical suggestions, which I implemented. It was a very different experience from my original post show discussion in 2006. Amanda, the woman with whom I’ve been corresponding, posted her review of the play today.
Mr. Gell contacted me a couple days after the group’s visit to the show, asking again if I could connect him to this group. I explained I respected the group’s privacy, and he would have to break the ice on his own. He returned to Fantasy Feeder, and with persistence persuaded one of the attendees to chat with him about their experience of the play. You may read Mr. Gell article at the New York Observer website.
Again, Mr. Gell surprised me. His intentions were indeed respectable, and his portrayal of the group was sweet, fun and objective. It wasn’t a hard piece of journalism, but that was never his intention as he so often insisted. In this exploitative and fast-paced 24 hour news cycle, we see innocent people vilified and judged for lifestyles. It’s refreshing to see a reporter do the work and stick to his word. One may disagree with how others live their lives; however, we’re all human beings seeking happiness and understanding.
Thanks, Mr. Gell, for staying true to your word and sharing a moment in which people tried to understand each other just a bit better.