During his final year of grad school, JC Lee often looked through the Juilliard windows and watched construction of what would become LCT3's Claire Tow Theater. Right before the winter break began, he was told that he needed to write a new play before graduation. In search of inspiration, he turned to an old notebook from when he was doing non-profit work in Bay Area high schools. He found what became the first scene of LUCE-"A discovery about an adopted kid's locker and nobody's really sure of what to do." He saw that he'd written a note to himself at the bottom of the scene, telling himself to finish it when he was older. When he originally wrote that first scene in his notebook, he wasn't ready to develop it into a full-length play.
JC spent his winter break in his apartment, writing the first draft of LUCE. While it has developed since then, the characters and the sequence of events in the play have remained the same. JC identifies with the title character of Luce in some ways, because of his own experience growing up.
"Luce is an adopted kid from a foreign country who has a certain set of experiences that make his identity non-conforming. I grew up on the Lower East Side and I was in an elite gifted program in grade school, where we were highly trained at a very young age. Then, when my family left the city, it was jarring for me as a person of mixed race, because I didn't have a singular cultural identity to latch onto. So I felt very much like a chameleon in trying to navigate different social groups. And then having gone to that gifted program, I had to academically re-tread a lot of the stuff I'd already learned. But I tried to do it in a way that would make me more socially adept. So I identify with Luce in some ways. In some ways, it is my experience."
Natasha Sinha is the LCT3 Associate at LCT3/Lincoln Center Theater.