Yesterday I had the great fortune to be included in an afternoon of short play readings with BYOT Productions. The artistic director, Dakota Periset had been cast in an upcoming Zoom of another short play of mine and I discovered
their planned afternoon when I researched the cast for that project. My play, “Weather or Not” was one of eight to be read on what can only be described as the first official day of
summer in Chicago. And this is why I continue to seek out fledgling companies to work with.
“Weather or Not” was originally written several years ago for another company I have a great deal of respect for. Sadly, they did not choose my piece to be part of their festival. In the following months I submitted it to anything that sounded vaguely appropriate, but it met with a resounding yawn of indifference. Other pieces supplanted my attention and eventually “Weather or Not” was relegated to the “Retired – Do Not Submit” file. But when I found a BYOT’s call for works that would be perfect to be read at the beach, “Weather or Not” was the only thing I had that was remotely feasible. Sent, received, accepted!
Having been part of the Chicago theatre community for nearly four decades, I’ve found I have to approach a group of young theatre people cautiously. Some are suspect at a middle-aged man’s interest. One or two have been outright hostile making me wonder what they saw in my work to begin with. Most often, after a meeting or two I find my niche within the group and the experiences range from productive to inspiring. BYOT falls neatly into the latter category.
I was the only person in the afternoon who was over the age of thirty. I may have been the only one over the age of twenty-five. And within about five minutes, I forgot all about that. The entire group was welcoming and fun. The afternoon was light, refreshing and for me, a great reconnection to what has kept me involved with the theatre for more than forty-five years. This company has harnessed the Mickey-and-Judy energy of throwing a show together with intelligence and practicality. And just plain fun.
I don’t know what’s in store for the group as a company, but I do know that as individuals these people have bright, bright futures ahead.
I’ve included some snaps of the day. I hope you can feel the fun that we had.