6 Reasons why producing new plays is like a holiday road trip

Ok. Give me a second here to explain myself. Before I arrived in Naples, I worked on several new plays produced by Kansas City Repertory Theatre. I served as dramatrug, part of the creative team and creative process. I overheard rewrite conversations. I listened as the production team made changes and shifted the budget. I was on the ground seeing these shows from the first call with the playwright to opening night of the “final” product. What amazing experiences!

Now, as a member of the producing team creating THE GOD GAME at Gulfshore Playhouse, I’m making connections about new plays in general. The process is similar wherever you go, and it is so exciting to be part of the first world premiere at our fantastic theatre!

winter road tripFor those of you who haven’t been an intimate part of a new play process, it is truly an adventure – not unlike your family’s holiday road trip, I’d imagine. So I would like to present to you 6 reasons why I believe producing a new play is like a holiday road trip:

1. You let everyone know you’re traveling

We are on a journey, friends! We have just launched our first rehearsals for THE GOD GAME, Gulfshore Playhouse’s first world premiere production! We’ve told everyone. We are publicizing. We are thrilled to be going on this trip, just like you might have been before your holiday travels.

2. You pack everything and check the weather before you depart

We’re prepared. We’re ready. We’ve done our homework. A huge dramatrugy packet is well in use. Our actors showed up partly memorized. We have props and pens and supplies and snacks and programs and ushers on top of the beyond extensive work of the playwright and Kristen. And we CERTAINLY have checked the weather…I feel guilty saying it’s a bit brisk in Naples at 50 degrees…we’ve brought our sweaters and scarves!

3. “Are we there yet?” is heard more than once

Sometimes the process is long. As you work toward how to serve the story and the characters, you ask yourself “Are we there yet?” “Have we reached something transcendental?” “Have we hit upon anything real?” “What will the audience think?” And you get to the point where “Are we there yet?” is an important question to ask, even thought it might not be the most comfortable of questions…don’t get me started with the philosophical questions of “Can a play ever really reach a point of perfection or being ‘there’?” This is just a blog, so go with me on this one.

4. Gas is expensive

All of the rest stops and filling up the gas tank means spending. It’s worth it. We are supporting this production like every other production we have on our stage. New plays require even more support – peoplewise and financially – so we have thrown all hands on deck to support the artistic team, the actors, the stage management, and the design team.

5. You travel a long distance

The distance you travel in a rehearsal can make your head spin! Some days one change can put you miles ahead and you feel like you’ve made huge strides in the work. Sometimes it feels like you’re moving more slowly as you make choices to pick apart smaller issues that affect the whole. There are road blocks and detours, but you get there.

6. You end up in a warm, cozy room eating and drinking in celebration

The end result of this wonderful adventure is spending a fantastic trip, filled with memories, with people you enjoy. You can look back on the process and learn from the amazing road you journeyed together. We have created something that, although still developing, is a brilliant work of theatre that allows you to think and consider as an audience member. We’re picking up hitchhikers that are fully willing to immerse themselves in the joy of storytelling. Let us know if you’re going our way!

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