This week we open a world premiere at Apex Theatre Studio. Toothless is a creepy vampire comedy with a crunchy, sarcastic, outer layer and a gooey, warm center.
Once again, this group of young artists have set themselves apart by taking on the challenge of a new work. Producing any play is a heroic act. Placing a new set of words (and in this case goofy ones!) in front of an audience takes a special skill set. The rewrites have been coming fast and furious. Each version gets its own distinct shade. Second draft pages were mint green. Draft three canary yellow. (I’m surprising them this week with hot pink for draft four.)
Too much of the time, educational theatre relies on the tried and true. And with good reason. Schools and colleges are hoping to increase the likelihood for a successful theatre event.
But if we are in the business of educating young artists. (And that is the business we are in). The last thing we want to encourage is a constant backward gaze.
The young characters in Toothless speak to the world as teenagers are experiencing it today. The conversations around the issues and themes in the play with this company have been informative, frank, and very fun. This company has truly influenced my writing and changed my attitudes about the central question the play explores: what and who determines our identity?
Thanks for “voting for the future” by coming out to see it. It will mean a great deal to this brave young crew of artists who make me want to be a better artist, mentor, and human.
It’s a season of frights and scares. I find the Toothless crew the bravest of all.
They are walking a tightrope without the safety net of a proven track record. This is the space where exciting storytelling belongs.