Just call Lawrence Karl “Jack”

True Confessions of The Straight Man, written and directed by: Antonia Kasper tells the story of Todd. Everyone thinks Todd Robinson is gay, including the girl he likes, Kate Conner. Afraid he might jeopardize their friendship, Todd’s façade snowballs into an over-the-top mix-up of sexual preference and identities, when he gets his reluctant roommate and a Drag Queen involved. What happens when a straight guy pretends to be gay to get the girl?  Sometimes we have to pretend to be something we’re not…to find our true self!

Lawrence Karl is ecstatic to be able to join the cast of True Confessions of The Straight Man as John Bruno. He recently was seen working with Mosaic Dance Theater in Troy: Women and War  (Paris/Hector) as well as working on the play, Godless, in various theatre festivals  like the Rogue Theatre Festival, Providence Theatre Festival, and The NYC Theatre Festival. When Lawrence isn’t on the stage, he can be seen working on independent films like Massacre Academy (Tanner Hart), First Night of Summer (Larry), and background for various Netflix series.

We picked Lawrence’s brain before he prepared for one of the shows:

Tell us about yourself as an artist? 
If I had to sum up myself as an artist, I’d certainly say I’m a “jack of all trades”! Whilst having a B.A. in Theatre and a B.A. in Dance, I’ve also been taking private voice lessons over the past 5-6 years, which most would consider to make me a triple threat. But I’ve had to work other jobs over the years as well that I believe all somehow connect to artistic expression. I’ve been a carpenter, landscaper, cook, baker, bartender, and fitness instructor. And while those all may seem like your “normal jobs”, they all take a specific set of skills that allow you to “create”, whilst simultaneously “working”.  My artistic journey started in Pittsburgh PA, where I’m from, and has carried me to NYC to continue my acting and dance career as a professional.

Who would have thought that the tables would turn and a straight guy would have to HIDE being that! How do you feel about that? 
This story tells a perspective that is certainly more common than some might believe. Straight men have been getting their sexuality questioned for a while now. I would even go as far to say that men in general have had their sexuality questioned for longer than we might assume. However, it’s not always talked about due to toxic masculinity. There are societal expectations that tell men that they must mask their emotions. Those “expectations” include telling young boys to “suck it up” whenever they get hurt or that “crying is for girls”. These expectations lead to men hiding behind toxic masculinity, which leads to them not being able to express their true selfs. We also see gay men masking their emotions in order to try to stay safe in society at times and avoid confrontation. They have to hide behind toxic masculinity as well and not share their true selfs, or dress certain ways that might keep them safer. Now, why bring this up as part of the conversation about our show and it’s story? 

Whilst acknowledging that this toxicity is still constantly happening, we can also see society changing in a positive direction. People are becoming more comfortable with their sexuality and gender identity in the world. Straight men can wear dresses, makeup, and jewelry. We see men becoming more comfortable in their skins and with their emotions. So, we do in fact see men being questioned about if they are straight or not more often. But unlike Todd, in the show, straight men can feel comfortable about it and it doesn’t become something uncomfortable or weird. Because there is more acceptance and an ever-evolving narrative, this topic of “straight men being questioned if they’re gay” becomes less toxic.

Stonewall is 53 years ago! How do you feel about that? 
This question is wonderful, in the sense that I don’t think Stonewall is talked about enough. But simply asking how someone feels about it leaves SOO many answers that I truly wish I had the time to dive into. There’s so many branches of discussion to be had here. From: Police brutality still be prevalent, to queer individuals still having limited rights im the US, to history books being written with tunnel vision. It’s tough to focus on just one topic when it comes to having feelings about Stonewall. So, I want to focus on the lack of education here. What I mean is that, I truly think that it is not talked about enough, taught enough, or recognized for its AMAZING steps in some sort of direction towards equality. Now, I have not picked up a school U.S. history book in ages, but I have taught in charter schools over the past 5 years. I can guarantee you would BARELY get 50% of the students to tell you that they know what Stonewall is. This historical event is truly not talked about enough. And I can certainly say that I never learned about it in school growing up, and this event predates me quite a bit. My focus of conversation here is that…I feel like this is misrepresented just as much as the LGBTQ+ community.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s