Marc Wolf Looks at the DADT Debate Through Personal Stories
Though its repeal has just been set in motion, Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, the controversial Clinton-era law that effectively silenced gay and lesbian military service members for 17 years, may still have some use.
“In the end, I think the play is about what happens to a community of people when they’re silenced,” New York actor and playwright Marc Wolf said in a phone interview about his one-man show, Another American: Asking and Telling, at the Kansas City Repertory Theater. Opening night is Jan. 21, and the Obie Award-winning show will run through Feb. 6.
So whatever path the repeal of the law takes in the coming months, listening to Wolf act out the personal stories of service members on all sides of the debate that he collected through interviews should be both entertaining and edifying.
Originally from Englewood, N.J., Wolf majored in theater and political science in college, and those two areas are very much evident in Asking and Telling. Begun in 1996, three years after the law was introduced, and finished three years later, the interviews needed to be approached with caution.
“I was talking to people in the military who have been trained not to talk about themselves ... [so> the interviews I did with people were really more conversations than interviews,” Wolf says.
“Oftentimes I would begin the interview saying ‘Why did you join the military? Why did you want to go in?’ Which really actually threw people off, especially the straight people I was interviewing, because they thought I would just ask, ‘Why don’t you think gay people should be in the military?’”
This seems an ingenious methodology for the play, which has been performed since 1999 in several venues nationwide. But exploring the issue in this way isn’t something that Wolf, who has had soap opera jobs, as well as parts in Law &