Program Notes: HUSH


One of my goals in making this work was to expand the community of the art-making process to include some civilians. I wanted to develop the characters in Hush based on conversations, not just with my immediate collaborative circle, but with ordinary folks who might have experienced the phenomenon of being “hushed” or of “hushing” themselves.

To this end, a few members of the company and I set up some casual conversations with a few particular communities: LGBTQIA teens and young adults who have experienced exclusion or bullying because of their sexual identity; women who have been sexually assaulted and felt the lingering effects and the terrible stigma of that experience; elderly citizens who are living in an urban setting and contending with the “youth” culture of the city; and people with Parkinson’s disease, some elderly and some not, who have felt themselves marginalized with the onset of their disease. We asked them how and if they had felt hushed, or if they had hushed themselves. The stories flowed from there. We just listened and recorded them with our smartphones.

The challenge for me as a writer was to take a few of these delicious tidbits and weave them into the script. Much of what you will hear comes from my imagination, but there are some fairly direct quotes from the interviews, as well. None of the characters are even remotely close to the people we interviewed, but I have given them strands of what these “real” people said to lend a kind of heft and reality to the language.

I have envisioned Hush as a narrative work. I wanted to spread my wings as a writer a bit more, to see if I could write characters who were consistent throughout the piece, but I couldn’t have done it without the participation of these wonderful volunteers who inspired me with their stories.

— Joe Goode





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