Splintered in Three is a trilogy of plays that includes Purple Eyes, The Little Edelweiss; or, An Immigrant's Fairytale, and Chocolate Gravy & White Jesus. While each play stands on its own, the entire trilogy stitches together over a century's worth of characters--culminating in one Texas family--as they migrate from all over the world to and through the United States, flanked by grand events as diverse as the Mexican Revolution, the Austrian Anschluss, the Vietnam War, and the AIDS epidemic.
Producing a trilogy of plays that confronts collisions between ethnicity and sexuality, the Splintered in Three ensemble seeks to produce stories that queer, that excavate paths of immigration and migration, and that connect characters intimately to their ancestors.
Note from Josh Inocéncio, Playwright:
I'm a queer Texas boy with a heart split in three. My Mexican roots in Michoacán metalworkers and warriors, my Austrian roots in Linz spell-speakers and bakers, my Appalachian roots in Kentucky moonshine makers and gospel charmers. My purpose as a cultural worker is to bridge my ancestries and nourish the memories.
With each generation preserving fewer fragments, I perform to remember. In 2015, I wrote and performed my first solo play, Purple Eyes, an ancestral auto/biography that explores growing up gay in a machismo culture. Now I’ve written the second, The Little Edelweiss; or, An Immigrant’s Fairytale, which revisits my closeted Great-Uncle’s journey to the United States from Austria as well as queer precedents in my Germanic ancestry. The third play, Chocolate Gravy and White Jesus, in the early draft stages, focuses on my mother’s side of the family, which is mostly from eastern Kentucky amid the mystic Appalachian hills. These plays form a trilogy where, as with Purple Eyes, I perform as myself and as ancestral figures from each of my three backgrounds.
As a theatre artist and cultural worker, I’m crafting these stories that emerge from pockets of the United States to illuminate the narratives of immigrants who have chiseled out a mosaic of American identities. Reawakening these histories and staging encounters with ancestors, for me, is a path to redressing the homophobia, sexism, and racism that have corrupted all our lineages. Beyond performing, I’ve also begun sharing my writing process in workshops so that other individuals, from both artistic and non-artistic backgrounds, can create solo plays based on their own ancestral memories. In a society that encourages us to forget our cultural histories, remembering is an act of survival. But revisiting our ancestors’ stories fulfills the sacred human need for making myths and discerning our purposes in the world.
In late 2014, in between graduate school semesters at Florida State University, I moved to San Antonio, TX for two months to collect memories from family members willing to share their stories about Texas and México. I stitched them together, plus weaved in my own narratives, to create Purple Eyes, a solo performance piece where I worked through four generations of Inocéncio men, interrogating passages of masculinity, from my great-grandpa Jésus, to my grandpa José, to my dad Joel, and, finally, to me, an inheritor of their experiences and a conjuror of my own.
Upon my return to Tallahassee, I assembled a creative team to get the play on its feet: 1) Jeff Paden, a PhD candidate to direct, 2) Rainy Edwards, a graduate costume designer, and 3) Ian Williams, a graduate sound designer and composer, and 4) Shannon Kaplan, an undergraduate stage manager. With Jeff and Rainy based at FSU and Ian at Yale, we partnered with Pride FSU, Florida State's LGBTQ student organization, to produce Purple Eyes and premiere a workshop production at the 621 Gallery in Tallahassee in April 2015.
Originally, I was going to end with Purple Eyes and move onto other works. But in the editing of the play, I decided I must write a trilogy of plays that examine my three ancestral homelands: Mexico, Austria, and Appalachia. Thus, I coined the term Splintered in Three for the project and after graduating with my Master's in Theatre Studies, I returned to Houston, TX not only to tour Purple Eyes, but to write the next two plays. Splintered in Three, then, emerged as a way for me to balance my three disparate histories.
Now, I'm in the production planning for The Little Edelweiss, which finished as a semifinalist for the Eugene O'Neill National Playwrights Conference in 2017, with a projected premiere in March 2018. And I'm writing the final play, Chocolate Gravy & White Jesus.
To learn more about the plays and the creative team, check out the other pages on this website.