So eight theatre artists set off. Once we reached an enclave in the trees, I offered another invitation: huddle up and kill the lights. Out there, it’s easy to feel alone and insignificant, but as we tuned in to nature’s soundscape, our neighbors’ presence became more palpable than the damp air. Our connection then grew with each step we took back through the darkness toward the porch light glowing in the distance. This short but bold journey created a bond between near strangers who had come together to make art. Now on the way back to the lodge we were a unified force ready to begin the real adventure into new play development.
This isn’t the first time I’ve led artists into the rough. My approach to new play development requires focus and openness with elements of risk-taking and exploration. This is why I choose an historic lodge in the depths of Beartown State Forest as the stomping grounds for the development of Boston Public Works' seventh and final play, Los Meadows.
During our time together we dove into both text and creative-based work to explore character arc and trajectory. The icing on the cake was a hilarious and heart string-tugging improvisation (long form) that encompassed a homecoming, an interrogation, a homeless house guest, a thanksgiving dinner, and lines of cocaine when the characters were supposed to be carving the turkey.
Two day later when we took our final romp through the woods, there was full light on where I would take Los Meadows next. Together, the artists’ feedback and insights made a significant contribution to the play’s growth and development. Together we illuminated what was once a dark path.
--Laura Neubauer, P7, playwright