Writing

Fly’s plays have been developed at theatres and arts-based institutions around the country, including Woven Theatre, Spooky Action Theater, The Battery Factory, and Peck School of the Arts, among others.

Jump to:
Frozen Fluid | Insignificance | Bell and Bliss | Love is a Horse | Avant Garde

Explore the plays below or visit Fly’s profile on New Play Exchange

Fly’s writing lives at the intersection of history, myth, and contemporary experience through the (de)construction and performance of identity, memory, and the body in space and time.

Fly draws inspiration from experimental music, dance, and visual art in the composition of their plays, and often utilizes primary research material in their work. Fly is interested in reframing and refracting past and current events with queer, animal, and post-dramatic lenses, combining and cracking open our cultural consciouses to explore how we become who we are (and figure out who we want to be).

Frozen Fluid

A Gender Non-Conforming Creation Myth

Selection: The Loom New Works Festival at Woven Theatre in Nashville, TN (2019)
Finalist: Kitchen Dog New Works Festival (2020); Unicorn Theatre’s In-Progress New Play Reading Series (2020)
Semi-Finalist: Eugene O’Neill National Playwrights Conference 2020; Playwrights Foundation Bay Area Playwrights Festival 2020; The Mitten Lab (2019)
Second Round Selection: The Austin Film Festival Playwriting Competition (2019)

Three scientists – enduring the vast tundra, close quarters, and three hundred beached whales on a melting glacier – are faced with questions of gender, biology, identity, climate change, and faith.

TAY, a scientist specializing in Phytoplankton, is a genderfluid person trying to quietly organize and understand their place on the ice while their presence cracks every foundation. HERMAN, a scientist specializing in Glacial Disintegration, builds an arc to get the team off of the melting glacier while struggling to keep his relationships afloat. TERRA, a whale biologist, is overwhelmed by the deconstruction of her faith and her identity as the world threatens to swallow her whole.

Frozen Fluid is a celebration and investigation of the complexity and multiplicity of the self and the struggle and ultimate triumph to find and live as one’s true self in mind, body, and spirit in a time of uncertainty in faith and future of the human race – with one another in society, and in our threatened climate on this planet. The play centers Trans and Gender Non-Binary characters and performers.

Insignificance is Sickening and Love Means Nothing at All;
All it is is the Strength to Keep Going On No Matter What Happens

An adaptation of Chekov’s Three Sisters

From dramaturg Anna Jennings:

“Adaptations of Chekhov abound, ranging from translations to radical usurpations of the original plays. Contemporary playwrights do not erase Chekhov but accompany his signature language and mood with their own. Elements of Chekhov’s Three Sisters remain visible in INSIGNIFANCE[…]; Steffens’ voice strikes a remarkable harmony with Chekhov’s. Illustrating the human capacity for love and destruction through haunting images and poetic language, this new adaptation joins countless other in reorienting the Chekhovian mood for contemporary theatre.

But, why so many Chekhov adaptations? Through the process of this new play’s development, we found that it is the Chekhovian belief in the individual, absurd impossibility of existence, and optimism for the future that keeps theatre artists returning for more. We hope this production’s humor, pain, and hope allows you to recognize and embrace your Bear.

‘Life is long and there will be many good and bad happenings, Mother Russia is so vast.’ -Anton Chekhov.”

Bell and Bliss

A rapturous tale of the assassination of President Garfield

Set in the sweltering Washington DC summer of 1881, President James Abram Garfield lays dying behind a curtain in the White House – Charles Guiteau has buried a bullet deep in the President’s belly, and Dr. D Willard Bliss is trying desperately to find it. Enter Alexander Graham Bell, overwhelmed and exhausted by the success of his revolutionary telephone. Both men seek greatness: for Bell, an invention that will redefine his success as a scientist; for Bliss, to be the ultimate medical savior of the nation. As Garfield slowly succumbs to sepsis, their failed attempts to save him fully charge the motivations of Bell’s assistant, Charles Sumner Tainter, as what he hears from Bell’s machine suggests what they’re searching for may not be a piece of lead.

BELL AND BLISS was inspired by primary resource materials that include not only the personal journals and letters of the titular characters, but also visceral artifacts such as President Garfield’s spine and the bullet that wounded him. The playwright interacted with these primary resources at institutions including the Library of Congress Manuscript Division, the Historical Society of Washington DC, and the National Museum of Health and Medicine.

Love is a Horse with a Broken Leg Trying to Stand while 45,000 People Watch

A substance-soaked play in three movements

A man, haunted by the death of his childhood pet, is on the verge of eviction. A business school drop out wagers everything to get the girl of his dreams. A lovesick photographer turns her subjects into stone. All are plagued by the inability to change. All are offered an opportunity to do so. Drawing from influences and experiences ranging from Bukowski to Joyce to life-as-a-twenty-something to the Absurd, LOVE IS A HORSE explores stories of addiction, existentialism, and the absurd.

Meet Me at the Avant Garde

A Play about Folk Blues Music in Milwaukee

Commissioned for Peck School of the Art’s 50th Anniversary, Meet Me at the Avant Garde is a fusion of two styles of music, two generations, two cultures, and their impacts and consequences on the Milwaukee music community. Based on research and interviews conducted by the Peck School of the Arts Finger-Style Guitar program and featuring performances and arrangements from guitar and musical theatre students from the university.