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Thursday, September 27, 2012

How a Play Comes Alive

We have walls today. Wedding china, too. As I enter the theatre, I feel a rush of excitement, as I do before every rehearsal. More elements are in place, the show is more alive than it was yesterday. Tomorrow, it will be richer still. Opening night approaches fast. 

It’s terrifying. But it’s the best kind of terror, like reaching the highest point of a roller coaster, and I couldn’t be more thrilled to be strapped in for the ride. 

Bringing The Company We Keep from page to production has been an incredible journey. What began as a writing exercise last March soon became a full-length play and my constant companion for the last six months. Five drafts later, the play feels ready to be on its feet, in front of an audience. Which is good, because we open in a week. 

None of this would happen, of course, without BPT’s commitment to advancing new plays. I am grateful for the support system that has surrounded Company since its inception. From its early days in Melinda’s workshop, this script has found unwavering guidance and encouragement from Kate, Melinda, Ronan, and Richard; from my fellow playwrights, Michael, MJ and Rick; and from other trusted theater artists. The rehearsal process expanded the circle to include a tremendous production team, each of them working to champion the play.

Someone asked me today if working on this production is a good way to wrap up my time here at BPT. I can’t imagine a better finale to graduate work than to put what I learned into practice, onstage in the place that was once my classroom, and will forever be my playwriting home. 

Rehearsal begins in three minutes. The actors are here, going over their lines. The director gives a friendly wave. I watch them, this outstanding creative team, and I’m in awe at what they can accomplish literally overnight. The play found its stride in these last few weeks, thanks in large part to the efforts of this generous, talented group of people. As they begin to work, I feel myself exhale, knowing the play is safe in their hands. 

They’re going to put on a great show. I hope you’ll buckle up and come along for the ride.

Jaclyn Villano
Playwright, The Company We Keep

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