Playwright Gina Young Shares Work and Inspiration


Aviva Vic Maxon ’24 

Staff Writer  


Playwright, director, and curator Gina Young gave an intimate talk in Scripps Communities of Resources and Empowerment (SCORE) to Scripps Family on Feb. 1. Family, Scripps’ Queer affinity group, invited Young, who uses they/she pronouns, to share their work and experience as a Queer artist. Young shared monologues from their plays She Likes to Cut Herself, She Likes to Write, Phone/Sex/Cancer, Femmes: A Tragedy (2014), sSISTERSs (2015), Room Tone (2020), and This is Why I Don’t Come Home (2023). 

Each monologue covered different themes and topics, all tied together through Queerness. She Likes to Cut Herself, She Likes to Write follows a teen girl through her first lesbian relationship while in Catholic school. Young pulled from her own experiences at Catholic school while navigating what a healthy queer relationship looks like. The play uses graphic imagery and intense feelings to tell the story. Femmes: A Tragedy (2014) follows a public breakup over the backdrop of modern lesbian culture. The show features all femme presenting actors and unpacks how butch/femme relationships can mirror heteronormativity. sSISTERSs (2015) follows three sisters, who may or may not be witches, as they deal with what it means to be family and the evolution of feminism. Young utilizes cyclical storytelling and repetition to bring the witchy story to life. Room Tone (2020) is a short film that follows one side of a Zoom conversation of ex-partners isolated by the pandemic. The entire story is told through a series of monologues and explores the loneliness of the pandemic. This is Why I Don’t Come Home (2023) is the story of a prodigal daughter who returned home to learn she is not the only Queer person in her family. This work explores changing identity, family dynamics, and the changes ten years after the legalization of gay marriage. 

Young’s authentic and thoughtful writing discussed self-harm, love, transphobia, changing identities, and religious trauma in a way that was heartfelt, serious, and digestible. They shared personal topics in a way that highlighted humanity and the universal search for belonging. Her reading was full of rhythmic verse which created a warm and encouraging environment. 

After the reading, Young had a Q&A-turned dialogue with attendees. They explained the draw to playwriting over other written work due to a love of dialogue and growing up in church theater spaces. Additionally, Young shared how she enjoys the speed of reading a play. 

The discussion turned to taking criticism and sharing creative control. They expressed the need for time to process criticism and to hone skills of parsing what is helpful feedback and what is not. Additionally, she expressed the need for inner strength and being able to separate oneself from the work. Young also explained the importance of having complete trust in other artists, such as actors and technical designers, who help bring the story to life on stage.

From there, the conversation turned to finding Queer spaces and community after college. Young shared that they found community through going out, queer bars, and the Riot Grrrl scene in New York. In Los Angeles, Young found and fostered community in similar ways. SORORITY was a project founded in 2016 to create the Queer community she wanted. It started as a small performing arts salon and has grown into a massive creative community that produces new live performance works, staged readings, and cabarets by women, trans, nonbinary, and queer artists.

“Being able to talk to Gina Young about navigating life after college as a Queer person was a great experience and it was truly inspiring to listen to someone who was able to pursue their passions without sacrificing their identity,” Family president Gabby Boles ’26 said. 

Following the event, students had the opportunity to stay behind and speak directly with Young, as well as buy merchandise for SORORITY and a book of Queer plays she was selling. 

“I sort of stumbled upon the event, but was so glad I went!” theater major Aviva Miller ’24 said. “It was a nice reminder that theater can come in many shapes and forms, and that Queer stories in theater should be emphasized more than they currently are. It made me think about the lack of authentic Queer stories within mainstream theater, and how it’s up to the next generation of theater makers to change that.”

Other attendees were inspired by Young’s work, noting the importance of seeing and hearing stories like their own. Young’s authenticity and ability to share real stories from their life and the lives of those around them instilled hope in her audience. If this Queer creative can make it, find community, and be fully themselves, then so can we. 

This event and others put on by Family highlight the work and community of Queer people all around us. You can find Gina Young on Instagram @gina.genius and Family on Instagram @scrippsfamily for updates on their future events.


Image Source: Gina Young

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