BLOOMFIELD, NJ - Texas native Gregory G. Allen moved to New York City in the late eighties to pursue acting and has been active in the entertainment industry for 30 years. In addition to acting, Allen has experience with writing and directing and has also served as Managing Director for the Westminster Arts Center at Bloomfield College for seven years. He currently works that same kind of job in Westchester County, New York for the past four years and lives in Hawthorne with his husband.
“Theater has been in my blood since I was a child and did a Christmas pageant. I've been acting since then and honed my skills as an actor and writer in high school when a local children's theater in Texas produced musicals that I wrote,” says Allen.
Today, May 19, at 3 p.m., Bloomfield Public Library’s Little Theatre presents a reading of Allen’s one-act play "Hiding in Daylight.” This event was made possible through a grant sponsoring the Take Pride, Bloomfield! program, which collaborates art and pride and aims to stimulate conversations surrounding marginalization and unify the community by discovering commonalities as well as celebrating differences. The program began in January and will continue running through June.
“I applied for the grant specifically on behalf of the Bloomfield Pride group,” says Bloomfield Public Library Director Holly Belli, “Incubation grants from the New Jersey Council for the Humanities are meant to explore something new, or new to your community. The funding provided by the grant award allowed us to offer all kinds of Humanities based programs designed to explore the LGBTQ+ experience in Bloomfield and as part of the wider American experience.”
Allen approached Belli about his one act when he heard about the grant. "Hiding in Daylight" is a story about two couples that discuss life after the “gay purge” in a dystopian future. The play was inspired by the real life current climate and recent events regarding the LGBT community.
“Greg's play examines a possibility that both seems implausible and all too real. Including his play in our examination of the LGBTQ+ experience in America feels timely and prescient. We are thrilled to be able to offer that opportunity. We feel so fortunate to have had someone like Greg approach us out of the blue! His play fits in perfectly with everything we've been discussing here,” says Belli.
Also influenced by adapted works based on the written pieces by authors such as Margaret Atwood and George Orwell, Allen feels that his personal way of contributing to causes is his writing.
“This piece feels very personal,” he says, “I've been fearful each time I notice another person in the LGBT community have a right taken away. Just this past week it's happened twice when a lesbian teacher was fired in Texas for showing a photo of her wife to students and Oklahoma passed a law denying gay couples the right to adopt. So while I'm not a politician nor do I lead marches, I did what I felt I could do: turned to my computer to write. I wanted to write a futuristic piece about life after a gay purge to try and get people to think about what was happening today.”
Allen has casted and directed the play himself. Though the play is just a reading, it does include blocking and sound cues. After the performance in Bloomfield, the play will also be presented in Key West, Florida and Dallas, Texas, each with a new set of people involved.
Allen hopes to use “Hiding in Daylight” as a conversation starter for groups around the country.
“I want people to think about how more alike we all are than different. Love is love. I also hope that people will pay more attention to what is happening in our country now to be sure a dystopian play like this can never occur. We need to make sure we stay alert and speak up: either if you're part of the community or an ally. It's sort of a movement and not only a play.”
You can find out more about Gregory G. Allen and his work by visiting his website: www.gregorygallen.com.