The Barley Sheaf Players are set to explore coming-out stories in the world premiere of “Love-Nothing,” an original drama written and directed by Andrea Daniels.
Over the course of the play, three tales are told. In one, Patrick fights to hold onto a friend whose religious beliefs make her question their friendship. Another finds Calvin trying to fix his wife’s broken heart with the discovery of his long-hidden sexuality. Finally, Alma struggles to convince her pregnant girlfriend that their love can combat any kind of hatred the world can throw at them.
Daniels explained that while all three stories are important, Alma’s tale makes the strongest impact.
“The first two, there’s definitely a loss in the relationship,” she said. “Those are powerful traumas. The last one is the most hopeful of the three and it’s what I wanted to end with: the idea of there being some sort of hope out there. After seeing the other two that are so serious end on a somber note, seeing something that ends with a little bit of hope may be the most powerful one of the play.”
Daniels, who identifies as straight, said she wrote “Love-Nothing” last year after facing personal struggles and being moved by the stories and experiences of teens and young adults who frequent The Spot, Chester County’s LGBTQA youth group.
“Any time people find out things about yourself that they didn’t know is sort of a coming-out process, and there’s that struggle of having to tell someone every time,” she said. “I’m 33 years old and it’s hard enough for me to come out with my own secrets and struggles. I can’t imagine coming out as a teenager with something as huge as being gay and coming out to family and friends. Any time you have some sort of personal struggle that has to be told, it’s a coming-out process.”
The stories in “Love-Nothing” are drawn from the experiences of LGBT individuals who filled out questionnaires for Daniels about their coming-out.
“A lot of the things that I got out of there that were most important I tried to incorporate the best I could into the play,” she explained. “It’s sort of the idea of you never just come out once. You’re continually coming out to the people that don’t know and the struggles with that. Most of what’s in the play itself is what people expressed to me that they felt needed to be covered.”
Daniels added that the play’s title is a tennis metaphor that one of the characters uses to describe how her familial relationships changed after she came out.
“One of the characters speaks about how she knew her father loved her because they would sit and watch tennis together. It was very important to him. That’s the connection they shared. When she came out, he wouldn’t share that with her anymore. She talked about when she was a child, she really didn’t understand that love was zero and her father explained that it was a nice way of making people feel better if they had zero in a game of tennis. After her parents wouldn’t speak to her anymore, her girlfriend says, ‘It’s a score of love-nothing and, your father won’t understand this, but you’re winning.’”
The Barley Sheaf Players present “Love-Nothing” through Jan. 30, 810 N. Whitford Road, Lionville. Proceeds from the performances benefit The Spot. For more information, visit www.barleysheaf.org or call (610) 363-7075.