Sarah Jane Maher admits her theatrical experience is slim, but says she was approached by playwright and director Jeff Reiser to be in his show “Free Range” because of her experience in improv comedy, which she started about four years ago.
Maher is a member of the improv troupe Remote Possibilities. “Free Range,” presented by Avoidance Theater Group, explores whether educated, upper-middle class couples are legally obligated to be both hyper-vigilant and overly permissive in their parenting efforts. One character thinks she has a better way and attempts to recruit others to her movement. Whimsy and hilarity ensue.
The show will be performed on Friday, July 8 at 8:15 p.m.; Sunday, July 10 at 1 p.m.; Sunday, July 17 at 4:30 p.m.; Wednesday, July 20 at 6 p.m.; and Saturday, July 23 at 4:30 p.m. at the Upstairs Theatre, Logan Fringe Arts Space (1358 Florida Ave., N.E.). Details at capitalfringe.org.
Maher is a graduate student studying social work. The 42-year-old Clifton, N.J., native came to Washington 23 years ago as a musician stationed at the Marine Barracks. She’s married and lives in Laurel, Md. She enjoys improv comedy, theater, volunteering and music in her free time.
How long have you been out and who was the hardest person to tell?
I have been out as transgender for a little over a year. I’ve been out as a lesbian for about a minute less, basically the amount of time it took for people to “do the math.” The hardest person to come out to was my mother. Coming out to her at 41 years old was not an easy thing to do, but she has given me nothing but love and support.
Who’s your LGBT hero?
Transgender punk musician Laura Jane Grace. She defines her own existence as a transgender woman and to me, embodies the strength and courage that transgender and gender non-conforming people need to survive in this world.
What’s Washington’s best nightspot, past or present?
I’m partial to the Black Cat since I love live music.
Describe your dream wedding.
A quiet affair with only close friends and family.
What non-LGBT issue are you most passionate about?
I feel a lot more can be done to fight homelessness, especially among my fellow veterans.
What historical outcome would you change?
I would prefer not to. I feel that if we change events from the past we can unintentionally affect the future in negative ways. I would hate to cause the end of the world as we know it. Or maybe I’ve just seen “Back to the Future” too many times.
What’s been the most memorable pop culture moment of your lifetime?
The first MTV broadcast.
On what do you insist?
Being treated fairly and with respect.
What was your last Facebook post or Tweet?
A quiz telling me which “Gilligan’s Island” castaway I am. (I’m Mary Ann)
If your life were a book, what would the title be?
“Never Too Late”
If science discovered a way to change sexual orientation, what would you do?
I would ask why scientific research was not being applied to more important issues.
What do you believe in beyond the physical world?
Nothing, but I am more than willing to be surprised.
What’s your advice for LGBT movement leaders?
Be inclusive and respect intersectionality.
What would you walk across hot coals for?
To help any of my close friends and family.
What LGBT stereotype annoys you most?
The notion that we are all the same. We are a very diverse group, yet most people feel that we can be pigeonholed into a handful of archetypes.
What’s your favorite LGBT movie?
“Boy Meets Girl”
What’s the most overrated social custom?
Using gendered language (Sir, Ma’am, etc.) in greeting people and answering the phone.
What trophy or prize do you most covet?
I’d be OK with an Emmy for comedy writing.
What do you wish you’d known at 18?
I wish I knew that although it is not an easy path, it is possible for a transgender person to find love and success.
I love the friends I have made over the last 20-plus years of my life in the D.C. area. Although my initial move to the area was technically not my choice, staying here long after my initial military obligation has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.