Tristan B Willis (they/them) is a DC-based playwright and game creator interested in trans and queer 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 CultureHub’s Writing for Electronic Formats, Tristan discussed and cultivated new ways of presenting theatrical work in digital and distanced spaces. In early 2023, Tristan wrote, performed, and streamed “in a way that matters,” developed as part of The Kennedy Center’s Local Theatre Residency at the REACH.
Tristan coordinates the Theatre Washington Mentoring Program for DC-area theatre practitioners and works with Young Playwrights’ Theater. You can learn more about Tristan and their work at tristanbwillis.com.
Newsletter, for in progress scenes from plays and games, musings on process, and unfettered dragging of terrible submission opportunities: feelingfickle.substack.com/welcome
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
Thea & Lily are stranded at a gas station in the middle of nowhere, but that's alright... Lily has a plan.
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.
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.