Monthly Archives: August 2014

Detour Tech

kate marie smith 1We teched the play “Detour” today. Kate Marie Smith is playing Samantha in the play written by Tyler Whidden and directed by Mary Rose O’Connor

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Why a Truck Stop?

When I had the idea to produce short plays this summer. I wanted there to be something to unify the four plays that my three fellow playwrights and myself would write. Obviously, I came up with a truck stop ’cause that term is in the title. It’s not just a random or whimsical gimmick though.

When I was 19, I found myself in a truck stop eating Christmas Eve dinner by myself. I won’t get into the why, that’ll be a play or a movie in the future. Let’s just say, 48 hours before, neither my family or I would have guessed I would have been eating turkey, mashed potatoes, and gravy by myself at a Flying J outside on I-35 in Des Moines, Iowa.

Christmas Eve dinner was always a big event for my family. We celebrated more on Christmas Eve than Christmas Day. The night consisted of church, opening presents, and dinner. I have an image emblazoned on my brain of my grandfather in a red sweater sitting at our dining room table, eating clam chowder from the only good seafood place in Kansas City. I remember him being happy. I remember all of us being happy.

So, sitting there in my booth, I felt like I was on another planet. I was shocked so many people were eating dinner at a truck stop restaurant with me. I thought it’d be empty. Some were travelers, but many were locals. There had to have been a couple of farmers and their wives. With my upbringing I assumed there would be a sadness amongst everyone having to eat there on the holiday. There wasn’t. I thought my waitress would be melancholy. I don’t remember her being so. I sat staring in awe of everyone.

I had driven a lot on foggy interstate highways the previous 24 hours. Truck stops and gas stations were a refuge. A way to escape from an intense drive for ten minutes. At a time, where I felt I couldn’t connect with anyone on the planet, it was nice to converse with someone for just a few moments at the cash register. I think at two in the morning that the person working the register appreciated having someone to talk to.

Everyone who steps inside a truck stop is on some type of journey. They’re trying to escape, or find, or lose, or love. I think the four plays that make up “10-4: The Truck Stop Plays” examine these kinds of journeys in a dark, humorous way.

We open August 8th at CIC Theater.

-Ryan Patrick Dolan