The Second Time Around
LITC's second New Plays Festival solicited new, unproduced plays under the theme, "The Second Time Around."
We received 109 submissions from 91 playwrights and chose five plays that spoke to us in the most profound way. In addition, Collective member and long time artistic associate Todd Hunt along with his writing partner Michael Fleizach wrote a piece specifically for LITC and our group of actors, which we were very proud to present as part of this eclectic, poignant and diverse evening of world premier plays.
Inspiration & Insight Into the Selected Plays
Broken originated, as several of my plays do, from an image that came to mind. Without spoiling the reveal for the audience, my intention was to find the ex-lovers in this situation and the image helped create tension immediately and build for the conflict. The theme I wanted to explore was that of "what is familiar." Roy and Tess, as we learn, are no strangers to their share of squabbles and tonight is no different. As we see history repeat, the biggest question that always lingers is will this be the fight that puts them over the edge or the one that brings them back together. Even further, what are the little ties that bind, that keep us connected emotionally when that big fight shakes the rafters.
- Michael Weems
Put a man in a room. Make him uncomfortable. Shatter his world and watch him rebuild it. Watch him make sense of it.
The crux of The Contract is belief. Not strictly of a religious nature, though we can't deny that serves our story here (we do set out to destroy a devout man after all - one who, by all accounts, has done very little wrong as far as we can tell). The ending, ultimately, is yours to decide. It's too close. Too personal. And quite frankly none of our goddamn business.
So if you have a moment, we've saved you a seat in our tiny hospital chapel. Let's talk life, death and your (possibly) immortal soul.
Oh and please, try to keep your voice low. There are prayers and hopes and dreams flying about. And we're pretty sure that one fellow is going to make a decision that will change his life forever.
-Michael Fleizach and Todd Hunt
Twice in my life I’ve served on a jury that decided whether someone accused of a crime would be punished or walk free. The second time involved a deadly weapon, which went off, the way a deadly weapon is supposed to when it shows up in act one. Thankfully, no one was hurt… or, if someone was hurt, it happened off stage, the way it does in Greek drama. There was this teenage boy huddled beside his lawyer, a young man with his whole life ahead of him, who fit all the criminal stereotypes so perfectly it seemed like he had to be innocent. He never spoke, so to hear him speak is the one thing I really wanted, the one thing that might have made me feel better, one way or another. The judge said you just have to trust in the system, believe innocent people won’t be convicted, and guilty ones will get what they deserve. But it’s hard to have faith, when you realize this haphazard process landed you in the jury room. One thing you are told not to do is meet with other jurors after hours. And another thing you are told not to do is return to the scene of the crime to look for evidence of your own. I did neither of these things. But I wanted to. Just like I wanted to have faith. And I had to make a choice between the two.
THE METH IN METHOD
Think about how the corporate world creates layers of bureaucracy to separate its workers from the work they do. For example, do people working at Nike's corporate office have any sense of their sweatshops? Or, do people at Nestle have any sense of the way their products pollute the environment? By making the play about something more blatantly harmful - meth - it shows how people can justify less savory businesses through layers of bureaucracy. Also, as someone who works in advertising, seeing how brands relentlessly pursue 'authenticity' as an aesthetic, only to get further and further away from the genuine is an irony I find hilarious. The more the try to be authentic, the less authentic they actually are.
POLYANNA AND THE NIHILIST
Pollyanna and the Nihilist is the story of two strangers who have a chance encounter after recently ending relationships. There is conflict (unavoidable), confrontation (peaceful) and fireworks (rhetorical).
I started with two characters with widely divergent views on life and an accidental meeting. From there I just went where they took me. To paraphrase Federico Fellini, “never get in the way of your characters.”
I hope the audience laughs and maybe cries, but most of all, I hope they think about it after the curtain goes down.
TAKING THE PLUNGE
I find that I'm motivated to write about things that annoy me, upset me, really get me fired up. As a gay man, I've certainly experienced plenty that's riled me up over the years. "Taking the Plunge" is really a response to the incredible rapidity of change for LGBTQ people (well, really LG people - we've had it easier, I think) during the past quarter century. I was fascinated by the idea of how the same soul, in the same place, would feel about themselves and about the world if they had lived in two different times. So I set out to write a play that had the same exact person living in two different eras and having an encounter with himself at one moment. Yes, that's a little odd, but it was lots of fun to contemplate and write. I hope the audience will take from this an increased sense of our collective responsibility to fight to build inclusion in our world. To me, this feels as urgent as ever right now.