photos & videos by Desdemona Dallas
In this autobiographical play, writer-performer Dante Fuoco excavates fifteen years of family home video—not only the sweet early years, curated by Dad, but also the tortured tween years, filmed by son. When Dante’s repressed queer desires are suddenly exposed, he must reckon with telling the truth after decades of lies.
poster by Rachel Cockrill
“All water has a perfect memory
and is forever trying to get back to where it was.”
In 2016, I set out to digitize my family’s home videos. I worried the impending decay of the Hi-8 tapes would signal the loss of something greater—what, I wasn’t sure. The twenty-four hours of footage I ultimately salvaged spans fifteen years: the sentimental early years (1990-2001) shot by my father, the tortured adolescent years (2001-2005) recorded by me. Since 2016, I have watched the tapes amid personal, familial, and political chaos. I started to realize what wasn’t recorded interested me as much as what was, for silence is its own story. And I began to surrender to the truth I have always been queer, even though I only started owning this identity well into my 20s, when the tapes reappeared. I now understand my panic over losing the tapes underpinned a deeper panic, over losing myself. Examining how my father saw me through the videos, and how I saw myself through the videos, have helped me consider how I want to be seen today, and in the future. SEAL pays homage to that journey.
SEAL was first staged (as no! i be seal) in a 2019 workshop at Dixon Place in New York City. In 2022, a fuller run was staged at Virginia Tech's The Cube, and produced by the Virginia Tech Graduate Arts Council, Institute for Creativity, Arts, & Innovation, and the Creativity and Innovation District. SEAL is under continued development.
playwright & performer
assistant sound designer
additional film edits
Rachel Pottern Nunn
Daryl Norman Soh
D. Fuoco & Tacie Jones