Last night was the inaugural performance of Kind Souls Chasing, a play close to my heart and from there. About a dozen people came to the MuCCC to attend the performance, with many of them staying for the talkback session afterwards.
I knew casting Carl Girard and Marcy Savastano in the roles of the two friends, playwright Matt Bennett and actress Ophelia Jacobs, was the right decision. They committed to this project during the summer, and even while they were doing other projects in the time in between, they never wavered from doing the show. They gave an emotional investment to their characters, and it showed. The reaction from the audience throughout the show was incredible – from the laughter (especially during Ophelia’s phone sex monologue, which displays her acting talent) to disbelief (the friends’ last confrontation, with some of Ophelia’s dialogue attacking Matt). This is a cliche to say (a line often used in the show), but the atmosphere was electric.
During the talkback with Melyssa Hall (who also provided the stage narration, an underrated task to which she did an amazing job), the audience asked questions about the show and the personal feelings behind it. I’ll mention just a few here, and my responses.
– Was there ever a moment to give Matt and Ophelia any romantic tension? No. The play was always going to be about friendship, because it was inspired by a friendship. Any romantic leanings would have changed the show dramatically.
– What was the writing process? I wrote out an extensive outline for the story, and managed to follow it from start to finish. There were five brief monologues Ophelia performed, with some written for the show and others considered for performances but were rejected or previously performed in a different light.
– Will there ever be a show in which Ophelia explains herself? I had thoughts about doing the flip-side through a show-long monologue exploring Ophelia’s psyche or perhaps a sequel involving Ophelia and even Matt. For now, there are no plans for either, but as long as I keep writing, “never say never.”
This play will return someday, whether in the form it was performed last night or with some more changes. For now I’m going to let it rest, with the eventual opportunity to resurrect it to come at a later time. I closed the talkback by saying this play was cathartic to write, and even more so to see it performed. I used the image of having a bag of rocks glued to my hands, only to have the glue finally crack, releasing them. I didn’t look back to see the rocks fall; I just kept going.
Kind Souls Chasing will go down as one of the most emotionally satisfying experiences of my life, and I’m proud of it. And I stand by it.
Founder, Aspie Works / Playwright, Kind Souls Chasing