Sometimes your best ideas are not your own. Take for example, the Elgin Short Play Festival.
Producing this style of event is not new. It happens all the time. Throughout the country, large and small theaters feature up-and-coming and established playwrights. The plays are short, usually ten minutes in length, sometimes longer. But featuring one playwright, like Theresa Rebeck, is a bit more unique and definitely more challenging.
But it wasn’t my idea.
See that guy in the picture. He reads. A lot. And last year when I saw him at Gail Borden Library, for some other meeting we had, he showed me a collection of plays he’d acquired from inter-library loan (something I knew little about). The plays were by Theresa Rebeck (something I knew even less than a little about). So being a generous fellow, he let me read the plays.
At first, like all things for me, the material just sat in my head. But months later when the idea came up to do a short play festival (more on that later), the name that pushed its way to the front was Theresa Rebeck. The idea and playwright had been gestating in my brain for some time. And thank’s to Richard Pahl, I was able to encounter an exciting voice in American Theater.
So here we are, in rehearsals, getting ready to produce something that you normally wouldn’t see in Elgin or the suburbs. I’m not sure how this will all flesh out, but what I’ve learned (cue wrap-up music to play underneath my narrative, like the end of a Grey’s Anatomy episode) is that it truly is the process and the journey of doing this work that makes it exciting.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t want the work to fail. I want the project to succeed. I want people to see it. And I want the audience to walk away feeling they’ve seen something that will stay with them for a while. It’s just that now I know it’s about inviting people to the party and seeing what we all can accomplish together.