Headlands Center for the Arts

Nathan Yungerberg

new york | writing
Artist in Residence Program 2019

Artist Statement

As a Black adoptee raised in a predominately white, Midwestern community, I was born into a question. That question has fueled my journeys around the world to find the missing, fractured pieces of myself and the African-American identity absent from my upbringing. Through my wide-ranging international travels, I have witnessed rich expressions of African identity within the African diaspora. In shaping my own cultural identity, I have incorporated many of these worldly expressions into my own, and I seek to express that awareness through the depth and expansiveness of my stories. As a result, I am committed to creating intelligent, socially-aware, emotionally intelligent, and multidimensional African-American characters in recognizable environments and with identifiable social standing. I also strive to take audiences to places and spaces intended to challenge convention and societal norms. I am committed to telling stories about Black people to add diversity to the theater world.

While at Headlands

I am a playwright, but while at Headlands I am interested in birthing a novel about two young gay Black soldiers during and after the Vietnam war. I am interested in exploring how love can be expressed when current circumstances don’t allow for physical or verbal expression. How much love can you communicate with your eyes? How much of your spirit can flow into your lover’s veins through an innocent handshake that lingers a few moments too long? How can you make love when your intimacy consists of random gazes across a muddy, wet jungle floor? And in the case of death, how much love can be expressed and received from the afterlife?

Banner photo: Esai’s Table, JAGFest; photo: Robert C Strong II

Personal Website