|Playwright Eric Coble and Director John Maclay with |
members of the Young Company at The Kennedy Center.
I’ve taken two plays to New Visions/New Voices before this one, and had a wonderful, world-opening encounter each time I went. It’s a long story, but I wouldn’t be writing TXT U L8R in Milwaukee if it weren't for randomly meeting Stan Foote from Oregon at NV/NV in Washington D.C. over a decade ago. The conference is such a great celebration of Theatre for Young Audiences, by some of the most skilled makers of that theatre in the country. It’s an honor to get to share work with them, to see what they’re thinking and working on, to revel in this amazing job we have and pus the art forward.
Our current reliance on non-face-to-face communication is unprecedented in all of human history. All the communication clues our bodies have spent thousands of years refining are out the window. No eye contact, no body language, no tone of voice — and yet we may be sharing more constant “talk” with each other than ever. So what happens when all that texting suddenly stops making sense? When we’ve grown so reliant on texting to tell us about the world, who do we turn to solve the mysteries our phones themselves may present? These are issues that drama hasn’t really gotten to play with before, and I find them fascinating.
I think a good story will reach people however it’s told. Shakespeare is still pretty relevant, you know? But there are opportunities to explore stories now that Shakespeare couldn’t have dreamt of, because of our new relationship to technology. So how do we mix the current online age with human bodies on a stage? Young audiences seem very willing to dig into that question.
TXT U L8R will be performed at part of First Stage's 2016-2017 season.