The Theater J folks seem to know murky family dramas play well over the holidays. One thinks of last year’s Tony Kushner play “The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures.”
This year, the company is offering “Sons of the Prophet,” a 2012 Pulitzer Prize finalist and dark comedy by Stephen Karam in which two gay brothers in Pennsylvania experience a terrible year in which their father dies in a freak accident with a plastic deer decoy. They think it can’t get much worse but it does as health, sanity and family are called into question.
The show runs through Sunday, Dec. 20, with various matinees and performance times. Full schedule is online at theaterj.org. Several post-show discussions are scheduled for various performances. Tickets start at $37. The theater is in the D.C. Jewish Community Center at 1529 16th St., N.W.
Actor Jaysen Wright is in the cast. The D.C. native returned to the region in 2012 after stints in Iowa for college and Indiana for graduate school.
He and his fiancé, Christopher, live in Columbia Heights. He enjoys tennis, running and Oscar handicapping in his free time.
How long have you been out and who was the hardest person to tell?
I came out between my freshman and sophomore year of college. My college roommate was one of the first guys I came out to. He was a football player, very macho. Coming out to him made me really nervous, but he was super supportive.
Who’s your LGBT hero?
There are so many. A pretty good recipe would combine equal parts Larry Kramer’s fight, RuPaul’s heart, James Baldwin’s art and Bayard Rustin’s activism, bring to a boil, simmer and serve.
What’s Washington’s best nightspot, past or present?
These days I’m into places with a quiet, cool neighborhood feel. Room 11 is about five minutes from my place, so I’m there a lot.
Describe your dream wedding.
Christopher and I are planning that right now. We’re getting married in October 2016. We’re both city people, so it was important to us to have it in the heart of the city. We’re doing it downtown at the City Club, which is right by Metro Center. But beyond that it’s really about bringing the people you love together to bear witness to a commitment you want to make to the person you want to spend the rest of your life with. The rest mostly takes care of itself.
What non-LGBT issue are you most passionate about?
Protecting a woman’s right to reproductive choice; advocating for the rights of people of color and immigrants, especially when it comes to how they are (mis)treated by the legal and criminal justice systems.
What historical outcome would you change?
The Bush v. Gore Supreme Court decision.
What’s been the most memorable pop culture moment of your lifetime?
Watching Halle Berry become the first African-American woman to win the Best Actress Oscar.
On what do you insist?
Respect is always a great starting point.
What was your last Facebook post or Tweet?
My last post was about successfully closing at a show called “Now Comes the Night” at 1st Stage Theatre and being excited about rehearsals for “Sons of the Prophet” at Theatre J.
If your life were a book, what would the title be?
“What a Mess”
If science discovered a way to change sexual orientation, what would you do?
What do you believe in beyond the physical world?
There’s this show I love called “The Leftovers.” For its second season they’re using a song by Iris DeMent that says, “I choose to let the mystery be.”
What’s your advice for LGBT movement leaders?
Be inclusive and think about the marginalized members of our community. Keep fighting.
What would you walk across hot coals for?
My friends and my fiancé.
What LGBT stereotype annoys you most?
The stereotypes don’t bother me. The cliquishness of some groups of people do. We should be kind to one another.
What’s your favorite LGBT movie?
What’s the most overrated social custom?
Tipping your server. As someone who’s been a server in the past, this isn’t an optional thing. It’s not a tip, it’s their wage. We should be tipping at least 20 percent and it should already be included in the bill someone gets at the end of their meal.
What trophy or prize do you most covet?
I have a little green piggy bank that says “Happy Thesis!” on it from when I did “The Pillowman” at Indiana University. It represents the completion of my formal acting training and brings back lots of great memories from grad school.
What do you wish you’d known at 18?
Learning doesn’t stop in school.
It’s home. Always has been and always will be.