THE GROVE – On July 9, the Monocle will host a staged reading of E.K. Doolin’s play “Glut.”
The play follows engaged couple Sarah and Steve as they decide where to hold their upcoming nuptials. Unfortunately, Sarah’s childhood church is off the table because they are both individuals of a larger size – and the church refuses marriage services to anyone they’ve deemed a “glutton.”
Local playwright Doolin said the play took shape as a reaction to the 2019 United Methodist Church Convention, held in St. Louis in February. At the convention, it was determined that not only would LGBTQ members of the Methodist church continue to be excluded from marriage and ordination, penalties against individuals who broke those rules would be strengthened.
Doolin called the decision “ridiculous” and decided to channel her anger into a new play.
“This is as ridiculous as saying that someone who is ‘overweight’ cannot be ordained or married,” she said of the convention’s decision. It was that feeling of incredulity over the Methodist church’s decision that led Doolin to draw the parallel to weight discrimination in her play.
She said “Glut” was her way of asking, “Well, what else? What’s next, church?”
It’s not the first time that anger has spurred Doolin into playwriting. In 2016, on the heels of the presidential election, she found herself wondering how to channel the anger she felt.
“And I was like, ‘Duh! Where have you wanted to be putting your anger and your words and everything?’” she explained. Shortly after, she wrote her first play, “Fast.” It was, she said, the first time she started taking herself seriously as a playwright.
It wasn’t her first stab at writing.
Doolin earned her MFA in acting from CWRU with the Cleveland Playhouse in 2004. She then moved to northern California, where she worked on “Girls Talk,” a series of educational skits that Doolin helped write that toured in middle schools around the Northwest. Covering topics such as puberty, boys and growing up, Doolin and her group cast high school students to perform in the short plays.
Later, after moving to St. Louis, she found herself with a similar task at church, where she rewrote scripts for a church youth group. Although the tasks were initially fulfilling, Doolin said, eventually she felt restless.
“I started to get anxious about, ‘These are not my words,’ and, ‘This is a topic I wouldn’t necessarily choose to write about,’” she explained.
Now she spends her time writing plays – and, she acknowledged, sometimes worrying that she’s not writing enough. Her latest task, improving her time management, has been an important challenge for her and her writing, she said.
Currently, this means taking each day in 15-minute increments. Of course, being a parent means the summer days can be especially busy for Doolin, who said she’d love to find a fall writing residency that would allow her dedicated time to focus solely on writing.
She also said that as a playwright, she was always pushing herself to submit more of her plays to theater companies, festivals and competitions.
“As a writer, I feel like I need to love to submit,” she said. “And have no expectation of what I get back … and the only way you can continue to submit is, you’ve got to write more.”
Doolin said she was looking forward to hearing “Glut” read in July. Early feedback to the play strengthened her own interest in the piece, and she said she was excited to hear more.
The reading will take place at 7 p.m. July 9th at the Monocle, 4510 Manchester Avenue. Local theater company The Q Collective is producing the reading. For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/events/glut