Friday, April 28, 2017

Play a Day: To the Orchard

Les Hunter
Twenty-eight plays in twenty-eight days! Four weeks of new work. And April is almost complete.

For Friday morning, I read To the Orchard by Les Hunter, and available at New Play Exchange. Dr. Hunter is a professor at Baldwin Wallace, one of our great Cleveland playwrights, and a total boss.

To the Orchard premiered at Playwrights Local last fall, and received the Foundation for Jewish Culture New Play Award. Like Virginia Woolf's To the Lighthouse, from which the play's title is derived, this piece focuses on the relationship between parents and adult children, and the ghosts of things unspoken. Or not yet spoken.

You know that thing they told us recently, about how if the spiders worked together they could devour humanity with hours? The same could be said of trees. Those things are everywhere. The pervasive realty of trees. They play a major role here, the Tree of Knowledge and/or Life. Trees that might reach out and grab you and pull you into the earth (or as was the case in Poltergeist, eat you.)

I am charmed by this story because it touches on elements of my life which I feel are absent, so they interest me greatly. The intense relationship between parents and children, the importance of mentors and lovers, and lovers who are mentors. I never stayed in touch with my mentors, to my continual disappointment. My wife is my mentor, and perhaps that is why I will never leave her.

In spite of my somewhat casual relationship with my parents, at least I am confident that my father knew I loved him, and there is a spiritual comfort in that.

Two more plays in two more days. Then what is the plan? The reading has effectively put the writing on hold. Why? Because I write in the morning, that is when I can think clearly, so that is when it happens. Can I return to a regular process of writing every morning at five.

Mornings at Five. If I give it a name, will that make it real?

Selections from Weimar, a new play by Les Hunter, will be read at Dobama Theatre on Monday, May 1 at 7:00 PM.

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