Conversion therapy is at the nucleus of A Southern Fairytale, a new play by actor/playwright Ty Autry that making its debut in New York September 13 for a three-night run.
According to the playwright, “A Southern Fairytale started out as a pet project after my mentor passed away last year. She told me that I should write my story down and share it with the world — which sounds a lot easier than it has proven to be, because the question quickly came up: What am I exactly trying to share with the world? What is the purpose of this piece that has shifted away from my personal story and combined others with it? Tales of a community of gay men born in a region of the country that still can be very hostile to anyone deemed different.”
Audiences attending this weekend’s performances of A Southern Fairytale will see a pared-down 45-minute version of his full length play.
Autry describes himself as small-town southern boy with “a big heart for the city and adventure.” Originally from a farming county in South Georgia, the actor relocated seven years ago to Atlanta to pursue a degree in electrical engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology. Once he’d graduated from the program — Summa Cum Laude — he abruptly decided to change course entirely and follow his passion for the performing arts. Some two years later, after successfully working in and around Atlanta before the footlights as well as behind the scenes, he made the big move to New York to seek acting jobs while continuing to training at the summer intensive and evening conservatory program at the Atlantic Acting School.
As Autry sees it, he may always remain a small town country boy at his core, since his heart still belongs back with his family in Georgia. But there’s also no denying that the hustle and bustle of a city and its thriving art industry have pushed him to explore every aspect of his limits as an actor, writer, director, choreographer and teacher.
An awful beauty can be borne of heartache, and Autry’s artistic achievement came through his trial-by-fire as a gay boy growing up in the Bible Belt. Those memories, and the crucible he traveled through, are what gives his play a power that only truth can provide.
Reflecting on those years eventually yielded what Autry calls the “breakthrough of what A Southern Fairytale is about — the story of a gay Christian growing up in the Deep South,” he says, “a show highlighting the tug and pull of faith with someone’s sexual orientation. But also showing just how much love and compassion can come from a region rooted in deep history and culture.”
Last modified: September 10, 2018