As I sat at the local Coffee Bean with David L. Ray in Culver City, I couldn’t help but think, “Damn I wish I’d brought my camera,” and I said it out loud to boot. David laughed. “That’s very sweet.” I couldn’t help myself. Dressed neatly in a casual, yellow, plaid short sleeved button down shirt, sitting comfortably against a counter top, the piercing blue eyes of a young sage, legs slightly crossed. He had the air of a Southern gentleman from days gone by. A Tennessee Williams modern play-write.
I arrived late. Lost from my directions. Excused myself to get a cup of coffee and a blueberry scone. Not wanting David to stay alone too much longer, I hurried through my order, scurried back and forth for coffee, cream and plated treat and I started the conversation from across the room at the order station.
David, of course was patient, reserved and relaxed. So when I finally plopped myself down into a chair, I found myself not feeling as guilty as I should. I simply listened and effervesced (inside) as he spoke.
‘It’s been a long time. But like anything else in life you wrestle with yourself until things just come together.’
‘This is your time now David. It’s all pulling together quickly now.’
Sincerely, David’s writing, acting and recognition for his artistic voice is now happening at lightening speed. At first it was just an announcement for the show but as we spoke he also began to reveal the festival appearance, the other plays, the other productions, the teaching and the press. I was astounded. I was joyous. So much to celebrate. He really is on his way.
‘So what is 7 Miles From Prison all about? What does it mean for you?’
‘It’s partly about healing. It started out as a story about my life. But of course it’s fictional and not my life entirely. It’s about a boy whose father is a prison warden, who is a member of a Baptist Church and how he struggles through life as he becomes openly gay. Life becomes very difficult with his father who is anti-gay and with his church who is un-accepting.’
‘So it is an internal and external prison.’
‘Yes. The prison is in the town. The town is the prison. The church is the prison. It’s not everything I am. It’s a beginning. Writing this piece was partly about healing. But now I want to distance myself from it and give it as an offering. I would like to soften the world’s point of view.”
David has a way of being gentle, honest and direct at the same time. He is a largely intense voice held in a captivating, nuanced, soft-spoken man. I have no doubt that 7 Miles From Prison will soften his audiences and move the world.
See the one man show that LA Weekly called, “A sharp one- act, quite moving.”
Don’t miss the one day Los Angeles preview before 7 Miles from Prison makes its way to New York City for the All Arts Festival.
May Preview Los Angeles, CA:
May 16th, 2010 – 6:00pm
4464 Sepulveda Blvd.
Culver City, CA 90230
Fresh Fruit Festival New York, NY
July 18, 2010, 7:00 PM
July 19, 2010, 10:00 PM
Cherry Lane Theater
38 Commerce Street
New York, NY 10014-3755