No Longer Just the Bridesmaid: On Writing a Light and Happy Lesbian Love Story

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I love hilarious women, I love romantic comedies, and I love my fellow lady queerballs. That’s the short version of why I wrote Speak Now. It’s a full-length play that takes place over a wedding weekend, and the lesbian maid of honor is in love with the straight bride. Hijinks ensue.

Loving hilarious women is easy (who doesn’t?), but it’s also frustrating. I watch the dozens of funny actresses I know and admire compete for a handful of female comic roles. I’ve also done a fair amount of scrambling for roles myself. So I knew from the start that I wanted to write a play with a ton of funny female parts. Of the nine characters, eight are women. It’s the best decision I made about the whole play—it’s such a pleasure getting to watch them work together. (The guy who plays the one male role is pretty cool too.)

My love of romantic comedies is a little more problematic. I love them so much that I demand a lot from them. I want them to be smart. I want them to be kind. And I’ve been wanting more that are about women who love women—as main characters, and not the sidekicks—for a long time.

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I don’t buy the argument that romantic comedies for women who love women are a tiny niche market. People in the LGBT community have been rooting with all their hearts for straight cis couples since, oh, the dawn of theater in ancient Greece. I think straight people can handle a few women who are crazy about other women along the way.

(And at the staged reading of Speak Now back in May, my faith was borne out. Thanks to a dubiously humorous twist of fate, we managed to schedule the reading on the same weekend as three real-life lesbian weddings, taking away a substantial chunk of our expected audience. We ended up playing to a full, predominantly straight, and very enthusiastic house.)

One thing I didn’t want to write was a coming-out drama. Don’t get me wrong; I have immense respect for coming-out stories, and several of them certainly helped me along the way. But sometimes you just need a little fun. I wanted a story in which acceptance of its queer lady characters is a given and we work from there. I deliberately wrote Speak Now to be light; a sort of between-meal snack, but with plenty of women kissing each other.

Writing it isn’t enough, of course. I completely dumb-lucked into producers who believe in the play, a director who totally gets me, and a kick-ass designer and stage manager. And I’ve also lucked into some incredibly supportive people (both emotionally and financially), especially on Twitter and in the AfterEllen community. It’s been amazing to find people who want the same things from a romantic comedy that I do. I hope I can make them proud. Or, at least, make them laugh for a bit.

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The premiere run of Speak Now will be Friday, February 5 and Saturday, February 6 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, February 7 at 7 p.m. at the Lounge Theatre, 6201 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90038. Advance reservations are highly recommended. Call 323-342-2276.

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