We had the good fortune of connecting with Roger Mason and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Roger, is your business focused on helping the community? If so, how?
I am a Black, Filipinx, plus-sized, genderqueer writer and performer. My work amplifies, celebrates, and emboldens the lived experience of folx who are rendered invisible by the dominant culture. Through my plays, tv/film writings, and podcast/public thought leadership, I show the richness and majesty of the BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, plus-sized experience while simultaneously serving as a possibility model for whose who look, sound, and love like me.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
In recent interviews, I’ve (half) jokingly said that I just found out who I was yesterday. It’s a half joke because there’s a great deal of truth in it. I do feel that, within the past year, I’ve really come into my own on the page as a writer because I’ve embraced myself as a performer. When you are writing from the perspective of the performer, creating a blueprint for a performer to embody the work, everything is alive, dynamic, specific, and compellingly personal in a new way. You are writing as if YOU were up there and you wanted to showcase the talent and the humanity that only you can share with the world. Simply put, you gotta put something good down on the page, ‘cuz if not it is your behind that will look a fool. But, jokes aside, finding myself as the writer and performer (or as I call it, the Showgirl Who Writes It Down) wasn’t easy. Growing up, all I wanted to do was perform. However, I was discouraged from acting and singing, taken out of shows in middle and high school for fear that I’d become a “sissy ass artist,” (yes, that term was regrettably thrown around my house in the Good Ol’ “Gay 90s”). But, in reality, I was most free as a kid when I was performing. I was unapologetically. It took me two decades and a million professional and artistic pivots to rediscover, nurture and embrace that kid within me again And now, finally, thankfully, I have returned to that young, unadulterated, free self once more. With pride and confidence, I say that I could not be happier with myself or my work at this point in my life.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I recently moved to Santa Monica, my birthplace. Friends have visited me there and we’ve done ONE thing: sat in the manmade sand dunes separating the volleyball courts. From that place you can see into forever – the ocean, the sky, the endless sand. And there’s no sound. Somehow the crashing waves, the wind, the conversant lovers baking nearby – they all disappear. It is just absolute bliss.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
As an arts worker, my profession is inherently collaborative. I believe in the power of the hive mind to build and create new worlds on stage and on screen which expand past the confines of our perceived world as we know it. Our imaginations are powerful, mystical things – they have the ability to invent newfound realities, one dream at a time. My Shoutout is dedicated to my collaborators who have possessed the bravery, kindness, passion, and faith to dream with me.
Headshot, Photo Credit: Abdullah Helwani; A Final Bow at Circle in the Square, Photo Credit: Yin Chang; THE PRIDE OF LIONS Showcase at The Flea Theatre, Photo Credit: Hook & Eye Theatre; Still from LAVENDER MEN Reading at Circle in the Square, Photo Credit: C.B. House