by Lansia Wann
Play-by-Plays! Never heard of them, you say? Well, neither had I, to be honest, but after speaking with the director of PTC’s first Play-by-Play of the season, Julie Kramer, I was completely intrigued.
Perpetual Girl is Julie Kramer’s fourth project for Pioneer Theatre Company’s Play-by-Play series. She’s a veteran—of both the program and the theatre. Julie’s first Play-by-Play project was also during the first year PTC started the program. Outside of many New York theatre credits (and even a “Critics Pick” by The New York Times and Time Out New York for The Best of Everything), Julie also directed Outside Mullingar, a play from PTC’s 2015-2016 season.
So, the Play-by-Play program! What is it? Well, to put it simply… it’s a week-long workshop reading of new plays. Selected scripts are brought to PTC, where the playwright then has the opportunity to bring script to stage with a professional director and great cast. The lot spends a few days rehearsing the script and then performs it in front of audiences on three separate occasions. Julie tells me, “Sometimes it changes between one presentation to the next, or between all three,” so it’s possible that you could see three completely different performances of that one play! Psst, tell your friends, too.
Now, know that there are no props, no costumes and no sets. It’s pure. It’s naked. It’s raw. Actors just have their scripts. But this is also what’s so great about the Play-by-Play series. You, the audience, you contribute to the finality of this play. And! Your contribution matters. It matters a lot.
One of Julie’s goals, as a director, is to “make sure that it works in front of the audience,” thus, making you essential to the success of this unique program at Pioneer Theatre Company.
I mean, where else can you see and help mold a new play? And playwrights, where else do you have a week to work on a new play? The Play-by-Play series here at Pioneer Theatre Company is also an unusual one at that, Julie tells me. Not only are we a “sophisticated,” “supportive,” “engaging” and “incredible” audience here, but we’ve been known to be “really nurturing” to the process. Hey, these aren’t my words in quotes; they are a professional’s words!
Although Perpetual Girl has already been worked on once in Los Angeles, “it was a much shorter process.” Julie explained to me that in a developmental stage like this, plays typically only receive about a day’s work. For the LA run, Perpetual Girl maybe had two days of rehearsal, whereas at PTC, they will have more than twice that amount of rehearsing!
So, there you go – a quick play-by-play of the Play-by-Play program. Are you intrigued too? Swing down to the Utah Museum of Fine Arts at the University of Utah to see Julie Kramer’s direction of Perpetual Girl on October 6 or 7th. “I feel like good things always come out of it.” That’s Julie’s words, not mine. Okay, okay, those were her words about the Play-by-Play program and not specifically about this play because she’s very sweet and not the slightest bit arrogant, but hey, this script read amazing to me so…