Last night, just before the house was opened to the audience for the third in our seven-show run, I was on stage with the actors working through a few tweaks to the final scene. We’ve been doing such tweaks just before each show. Little touches here and there that keep making the show about 2% better each night. It’s a cool dynamic of a play that you don’t really get after you release a movie.
After the show, as I was driving home, the warm summer wind blowing through the open windows of my car, I got to musing about this. Plays, like humans, they don’t necessarily come to life fully grown. Under the right set of circumstances, they can grow into their skin. At a rate of about 2% each night. Eventually those 2%s start to add up.
But they need a safe place to mature. They need incubation. They need nurturing. They need love. In other words, not New York.
And the musings then turned to the town I was in: Provo, Utah. Last night, we had our biggest audience yet. And for the first time, I didn’t know most of them. And I got to thinking that wouldn’t it be cool if Provo were that space. A space where new plays could grow. A space where people are willing to come and spend a few dollars to see something they hadn’t seen before. To not shove it to the ground, even if it is still a bit of a wobbly toddler, but to show it some love. And to be part of the process that sees what that wobbly toddler becomes over time.
“Incompleat Works” got reviewed. And even the reviewer wasn’t bent on slamming the play for its wobbles, but on recognizing where it is in the process, applauding its strengths, acknowledging where it has room to grow, and encouraging others to see it. Where does that kind of thing happen?
Yep, I nominate Provo, Utah, to become the kind of place where new plays are born. Where they’re incubated and nurtured and cultivated and loved until they are ready to be sent into the world. I recognize I, as a writer of new works, have a vested interest in this, but I don’t care, I’m nominating Provo, Utah, anyway. The people here are sort of famous for being smart and nice and appreciative of the arts. It’s not everybody’s cup of decaf, I get it. But on the other hand, 100 people a night would fill the Echo up.
I’m hopeful the Echo Theatre will be part of this process going further. But I also recognize that it has to make rent and a little bit extra. So if people come to new works, it seems far more likely that it would be able to continue its noble quest.
So thank you for coming, people. We have four nights of our seven-night run left. “Lawn Ornaments,” the other show in the Writers Showcase our show is part of, has three. In a week, the inaugural run for “Incompleat Works” will be complete. What happens then I think depends at least a bit on what happens between now and then. Chances are if you’re one of the seven people who read my blog, you’ve already come to see the show. But if you haven’t, and happen to be in the general vicinity of the Provo area, please come spend a summer evening with us (ticket info here). Cool bonus of the new location for the Echo: it’s air conditioned.
I even made a trailer for the show.
Air conditioning and a wobbly toddler with a trailer. This is the sort of stuff life is made of.