January 2022
Love, Acceptance, and STIs
H Is for Human at SPCA

Writer and Director Klay Wandelear describes his upcoming play HIs for Human as an “exploration of avenues, feelings and concepts surrounding sexually transmitted infections.” It’s a comedy addressing a very serious subject, written to break the cycle of shame and stigma that stand in the way of prevention and treatment of STIs. Wandelear calls it “an After School Special” for the community.

The plot follows Hugh, a character on a journey to self-worth and self-acceptance. As Hugh navigates the landscape of inner and outer self, he develops his ability to make informed choices.

Wandelear grew up in suburban Phoenix, and his mother encouraged him to enroll in a high-school drama class, “to make friends and have fun.” His senior-class final was the catalyst for his directing insight.

His original intent for college and the future was to major in science. The summer following graduation, he took a trip to his aunt’s home in Germany. While there, he attended a community performance of the musical Hairspray. He found himself mentally dissecting the show, and felt an instinctive ability to see it from a technical standpoint.

While not a huge fan of the show, he thought, “I need this, this is what I want to do.” He also realized that his desire for the sciences had only been to prove he was smarter than his brother. Knowing Grand Canyon University had an impressive theatre program, he enrolled and was accepted.

When his BA in theatre and drama was finished, he sought his MFA at the University of Essex East 15 Acting School, a prestigious and internationally recognized conservatory with a distinguished international teaching staff. The two-year program includes six-week courses in each aspect of theatre. Klay chose the program for its intensive nature, the cross-cultural experience, and the foreign travel.

One of the many highlights of his program was a month in Moscow at GITIS, the Russian Institute of Theatre Arts, the largest and oldest independent theatrical-arts school in Russia, established in 1878.Asked for his take-away from that experience, Wandelear replied that at the conclusion of the month, after exposure to the Stanislavski method and attendance at several high-end and wonderfully produced productions, he can say he is a director.

Klay told me that someday his path may take him other places, but for now, love and family are his priority, which brought him back to Prescott. Following his partners in life and love, he accepted the position of assistant technical director at Suze’s Prescott Center for the Arts.

He has been a technical gift to the state-of-the-art upgrades at SPCA as the theatre is expanding. He especially enjoys the theatre community here, and when John Duncan of 4am Productions approached, he agreed to write and direct a show to benefit Northland Cares Clinic.

Wandelear has a great sense of humor and enjoys a good laugh. He assures me that despite the subject matter this is indeed a comedy, and the goal in his writing and directing, along with his outstanding cast, is to reach a wide audience and entertain. The show is not geared to any specific identity group, and it explores a wide range of sexual practices — a show for everyone. It carries an important message, is a fundraiser for a great cause, and provides information that enriches lives and helps prevent illness.

His for Human will play on January 22, 6:00pm at Suze’s Prescott Center for the Arts. For tickets call 928-445-3286 or visit pca-az.net.

Laine Murphy is a writer covering the arts in Prescott.

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