This Play Was Not Written By a Woman

An investigation of female artists who adopted male identities in order to advance their careers. It focuses on the labyrinthine narratives of jazz pianist Billy Lee Tipton and author Laura Albert. This Play was Not Written by a Woman will examine how each of these artists transformed their career by adopting a male identity and how their work became obscured by the scandal of their “deceptive” lives. The piece will also scrutinize the ethics of adopting an alternative identity, especially when that identity has less privilege than the one the artist was born with.

a play by Sarah Stiles and Emilyn Kowaleski

I worked with actor Alia G. Tejeda to collaboratively create the song “Shapeshifter” for this piece. We gathered at HB Studios and pulled fragments of text from a hat for our starting ingredients. Over the next couple days, we worked out the details and ended up with a tune about the malleability of identity. This workshop reading was a very exciting opportunity to meet new creative people and try out a different style of songwriting!