I recently took a workshop on storytelling and learned that a good story has a beginning, middle, and an end; a great story adds tension and release. So, it was with this information
fresh on my mind, that I attended a reading of an early draft of Going to See the Kid at the Merrimack Repertory Theatre. As I listened intently to the script, read by the talented actors (who seemed to have their lines mostly memorized already), I paid attention to the flow and rhythm, recognizing key places where the script followed the rules and kept the audience interested. It gave me an opportunity to see these principles in action. Even though it was a first read-through, it felt like i was watching a completed work. If it was that good this early, I can’t wait to see what the final outcome will be.
A few days later, the MRT Cohorts were invited to the opening rehearsal of 45 Plays for 45 Presidents. I wondered how the writers would take the linear history we are all familiar with and give it that same ebb and flow, a bit of negative tension followed by a positive release. The writers use song and dance, poetry and puppetry, and even a bit of audience participation to move through history and tell the story. But as it turns out, the history of the United States of America stands on its own as a great story. Over the course of our last 240 years the people have voted for some great Presidents and some pretty bad Presidents. We’ve suffered through some really bad events and celebrated some really great years. We have written an awesome story, and as we are nearing the 2016 election, we are writing another great chapter of our nation’s history.
Many thanks to Sean Daniels and the MRT staff for giving all of us this opportunity to experience our history through a fresh lens. If you don’t already have your tickets, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?
45 Plays for 45 Presidents runs September 7 – October 2.