|Jory Murphy as Bowers' "lovely assistant"|
It was a treat to listen in on a post-performance chat with Bowers, director Greg Leaming and the audience (which included both Conservatory students and a lot of folks who are clearly serious theater people). Bowers shared that his other two plays -- "Under a Montana Moon" and "'Night Sweetheart, 'Night Buttercup" -- started in the same way; i.e., by telling the stories rather than from a written script. "The alchemy of the audience and the stories tells me what the play is going to be, " he said.
There was a slight difference of opinion as to whether the final version of the play should have a clearer theme. To me, the play worked more or less as it was, in part because of the audience's participation. Our role put us in a position not dissimilar to that of the people in Bowers' stories. We too were there to learn about Bowers' craft, albeit from a different perspective. And while I didn't leave with the ability to execute a leaning tower of Pisa, I did come away with a greater appreciation--once again--of the unexpected ways in which the arts can open our eyes to new worlds and ever-so-slightly change our attitudes and expectations.
I was thrilled to hear that the Cherry Lane Theatre in New York has already signed Bowers on to present his new play there next spring. I always love having an excuse to go to New York, and I can't imagine a better one than watching Bill Bowers in action.