Michael Breslin ’13

When producer, actor, and writer Michael Breslin ’13 and co-writer Patrick Foley finished their play Circle Jerk last summer, the pandemic had extinguished live theatre. The Brooklyn-based theatre and media company Fake Friends had planned to perform the play for a live audience.

To salvage the project, the writers made a leap — backed by fearless producers, they rejiggered the play for livestreaming. That proved to be a smart move.

In June, the play was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Drama. “I’m incredibly honored and honestly shocked by this gesture from the Pulitzer Prize committee to support young, queer, experimental theatrical work that engages with technology,” Breslin says. 

The play is about the internet and how disinformation has, in many ways, corrupted society. The Circle Jerk website describes it as “a queer comedy about white gay supremacy, a homopessimist hybrid of yesterday’s live theater and today’s livestream (set in tomorrow’s news cycle).”

When Breslin was weighing whether to produce the show online, he says he heard the voices of his professors – the late Carole Bellini-Sharp, Nancy Rabinowitz, and Craig Latrell – telling him to take the risk. When he learned of the nomination, he immediately called Rabinowitz and texted Latrell.

“The nomination definitely opens up more possibilities for Circle Jerk,” Breslin says. “We are excited about working toward a New York City in-person production that merges live performance and livestreaming technology.” 

Breslin has a lot more to juggle: his doctoral dissertation at Yale School of Drama, two new shows in development, and two television projects with Foley. 

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