Tristan B Willis
they / them
Washington, DC
Biography

Tristan B Willis is a playwright, administrator, graphic designer, and game creator interested in queer, trans work and the intersection of theatre and games - including making meaningful, interactive experiences for audiences. As a former resident of the Orchard Project’s Liveness Lab and participant in CultureHub's Writing for Electronic Formats, they discussed and cultivated new ways of presenting theatrical work in digital spaces. Tristan has coordinated the theatre Washington Mentoring Program since 2018 and currently works with Young Playwrights’ Theater. They are a member of the Playwrights' Center and Freelancer’s Union.

Newsletter, for in progress scenes from plays and games, musings on process, and unfettered dragging of terrible submission opportunities: feelingfickle.substack.com/welcome

Tristan's work for FY22 is funded in part by the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities through the Arts and Humanities Fellowship Program.

Plays

by Tristan B Willis

Two actors meet onstage and flip a coin to decide who plays which character in this performance. One takes on the role of Boris Lermontov, the boisterous and boastful impresario of a popular ballet company, while the other plays his employee Noa, an unappreciated dancer who’s been tasked with serving dinner to Lermontov and his guest (that’s you, the audience).

The façade of the dinner party quickly starts to crumble as tensions rise between impresario and dancer, revealing the faulty hierarchical structures inherent to such working relationships. As the actor playing Lermontov tries to show the effects of such power imbalances can be solved with the Right Person in the role of impresario, they fall further and further into a trap they’ve created for themself.

Cast:
Both actors will likely play both characters at some point - just be conscious of this and the dynamics of them playing each role. My plays do not live in an unrealistic land of all thin, abled, cis and gender-binary white people. Populate BOTH the stage and production team with people historically excluded from your theatre and/or your region’s theatre at large. I WILL follow up with you about this if you produce my plays. /// Ballet in this piece is about style and aesthetic, not technical skill. Do not be fooled into thinking “this is a ballet” means you must (or even should!) cast based on technical skill or perceived ability. A good actor can portray this aesthetic regardless of training, familiarity, body type, etc etc. BORIS LERMONTOV/ACTOR L Art above people, craft always. Lermontov is a cis white man. The actor who plays Lermontov is NOT. NOA/ACTOR N There’s got to be a better way, but for now they’re just trying to keep this job. According to Lermontov they “don’t have the right shape” for ballet. Noa/Actor N's pronouns can change to reflect the actor's. The actor who plays Noa is likewise not a cis white man.
by Tristan B Willis

In search of development opportunities. 

Over three nights and three dreams a non-binary person explores their relationship with their body, their family, and their desire to escape from the internal and external conflicts surrounding them. 

The first night they dream of turning into a tornado and destroying their hometown. 
The second night they dream of fighting in a war with their grandfather. 
The third night they dream of a future where they can transition into any form they choose. 
As the third dream progresses, it shifts, trying to please and keep them in the dream, away from the real world problems they so desperately want to avoid.

Image by Samuel Zeller

Cast:
THE BODY: they/them/theirs, to be played by someone gender non-conforming (no exceptions) and AN ENSEMBLE WHO PLAY: People from The Body’s hometown, The Body’s partner, The Body’s sister, The Body’s grandfather and other soldiers, Futuristic interviewers, researchers, and research participants
by Tristan B Willis

Use All Available Doors follows a soon-to-be-decommissioned WMATA train car, a grieving operator re-evaluating her life’s path, and a revolving door of passengers as they travel the length of the Red Line from Shady Grove to Glenmont. A vignette occurs between each stop, highlighting the diverse nature of the Red Line’s path, including a parade, a sing-a-long, and unsolicited foot washing (that one's a true story).

This project was developed in part through support provided by CulturalDC’s Performing Arts initiative.

Cast:
SHERRY:​ a train operator in her late 30s-40s and AN ENSEMBLE OF METRO RIDERS
by Tristan B Willis

A performance piece inspired in part by articles like HuffPost’s “23 Trends Men Hate (But Women Love)” and interactions between nonbinary femme & women artists and cis men.

23 Opinions is bite-sized theatre, written so performers can present it quickly without much rehearsal at any available venue, from street corners to parties with boys who brought guitars.

The lines are not delineated so each group of performers can choose the lines that best fit.

Cast:
3+ nonbinary femmes and/or women
by Tristan B Willis

A ten-minute play on desiring and fearing "masculinity." Phaethon desperately wants to prove he is not only Apollo's child, but Apollo's son. Clymene fears her son takes on false affectations to prove his identity to others.

Cast:
by Tristan B Willis

Thea & Lily are stranded at a gas station in the middle of nowhere, but that's alright... Lily has a plan.

Cast:
ID
by Charles Mee, Tashina Richardson, Tristan B Willis

As we interact with each other in this world, we constantly have to juggle and struggle with how we identify ourselves versus how others identify us. In "ID," identity, privilege, and more are explored at a dive bar through music, drinks, lively discussion and, hell why not, dancing.

Cast:
by Tristan B Willis

A scholar and artist navigate their passion for their art and each other while stuck in a relationship that continuously cycles back to the beginning.

Cast: