Hi, my name is Elan Zafir and I’ve been an actor for over 20 years.
I just turned forty, and I live in DC (coming up on three years), and I was brought here because I attended the Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Academy for Classical Acting—where I got my MFA. I’ve been working steadily ever since (Venus in Fur, Tender Napalm, R&J, Salome, Othello), so no reason to go back to New York.
I lived and worked in New York City for fourteen years, before moving to DC, and made lots of great moves, and terrible mistakes… but the absolute best thing that ever happened to me was having my son.
My son and I don’t live together. We used to, and it gave my life a certain meaning.
It was the reason I woke up.
It was the reason I made money.
It was the reason I desired deep connections with people.
He now lives in Texas with his mother, and I went from seeing him four times a week, to four times a year.
One day I picked up a notebook and began writing what would become “The Unaccompanied Minor.” It went through several drafts, and a presentation/performance at The Kennedy Center. By the time it gets to you, it will have a second performance at The Asheville Fringe Festival, and I plan to take it to Edinburgh this August.
It is the story of being a dad when your son lives 2000 miles away. How I succeed and fail as a father. How my childhood helped and hurt.
The structure of the piece is well suited to the structure of our time together: Lots of words, lots of feelings—time running out. Torrents of meandering, where I grasp at connection. It begins with picking my son up at the airport, and ends with me dropping him off. After the Kennedy Center presentation, someone made a comment saying it should be longer; they wanted more time with father and son together.
Me, too. But I don’t get it, and neither do they.
My director is Dody DiSanto and is a practitioner of the Ecole du Jacque Lecoq in Paris, France. As a dramaturge helps flesh out the written world of the piece, she is fleshing out the physical world. Not only ensuring the characters don’t bleed together, but creating clear zones and vectors, so multiple actions can occur with the utmost clarity.
This will be my Fifth Fringe Festival. The first one I entered when I was 23 with a play called “Leaf in the Mailbox.” it went on to receive the People’s Choice Award at the Montreal Fringe Festival, and we got to perform the piece at the prestigious Centaur Theatre.
I am an actor, I am a writer, this is my story. It’s funny, sad, and true. I want to go around the world telling it. And If I can bring a little bit of peace to anyone who loves someone who is either in another state, country, or no longer on this earth—I will have done my job.
I hurt. Everyday. I know others do, too. I want to share my story with them.