In her mind, Annabel and Rorie have been together a long time and are perfect counterbalances to each other. Down deep, Annabel wants to be like everyone else and is looking for acceptance. “She is not a freak,” the actress says. “She wants to say ‘I too am a child of God.’”
Playwright Lew has written plays before but this is the first that has featured any LGBT characters prominently. He wanted to make his characters as emotionally complex as he could. He also aimed to have an ethnically diverse ensemble, spread across generational lines. “As a writer of color, it’s important not to have too many images of homogenized America.” He looks at the goals of Annabel and Rorie – traveling from state to state and declaring their allegiance to each other – as their own form of activism.
Lew submitted “Bike America” to the Alliance at the end of 2011 and learned he had won their playwriting competition early the following year. He is currently working on a number of other plays, one of which features a gay man as the central character. He calls that one a “love letter to the theater.”
Later this fall, “Bike America” will make its debut in New York. The ninth winner of the Alliance playwriting competition, it’s the first play among the winners that has gone directly from an engagement in Atlanta to an off-Broadway one.
Top photo: Je Nie Fleming (left) and Marilyn Torres star in “Bike America” showing at Alliance Theatre (publicity photos)