A colleague in the theatre industry reached out a few months ago about collaborating on a new theatre project. After some discussing back and forth, it was decided that I would write the entire show. It would consist of 10 short plays similarly themed. Today, I finished writing it. My first new full-length theatre show in two and a half years. It’s titled: Within Reach.
Before I outline what the show’s about, I’d like to look back at the other shows of similar format that I’ve written over the years. I was put onto short-form drama about ten years ago, formed a teen drama troupe, and proceeded to write and produce a number of shows over the years. I love this type of show: short plays, light sets, various genres, similar themes, and one cohesive unit. They are super fun and audiences love them. Here’s a list of my previous shows in this format:
2011 The Road Less Traveled (Penang Performing Arts Centre)
2012 Drive All Night (Penang Performing Arts Centre)
2013 Captured in Time & Space (Penang Performing Arts Centre)
2014 For All Generations (Penang Performing Arts Centre; restaged in Jeddah in 2018)
2015 Tales of Wonder (Christmas show) (Penang Performing Arts Centre)
2016 Tales of Wonder II (Penang Performing Arts Centre)
2017 Tales of Christmas (Penang Performing Arts Centre – only one not produced by myself)
2018 Stories, Vol 1 & Stories Vol 2 (Jeddah – Mix of new and older scripts)
2019 Crazy Love (Scheduled to be produced in April 2020 until pandemic cancelled it)
So that brings us to my brand new show: WITHIN REACH.
Here’s a short description about the show: WITHIN REACH is a poignant and challenging look at the past and present. It ponders the possibilities of life, the obstacles that hold us down, the inspiration that moves us forward, and the power of hope and reconciliation that come from unexpected places. WITHIN REACH is a full-length, theatrical production consisting of ten similarly themed short plays meant to empower youth and women, while encouraging everyone to engage in the human stories around them.
I’m super excited about these 10 plays. I had so much fun writing them. They were challenging and meaningful to put together. They include two historical pieces which I love. Several pieces about teen issues and four pieces specifically written with strong female roles. Here’s a quick overview of the individual pieces are about:
Booker T. Sweeps the Floor: A historical piece based on an episode from Booker T. Washington’s autobiography. Booker learns a tough lesson about hard work. But when the ex-slave dreams of going to school, he has a strange entrance exam that he was prepared for: sweeping the floor.
The One True Sport: A young teen boy is petrified when he has to take his shirt off and play a basketball game in front of a girl he likes.
Dark Social: Two teens decide to create a false, malicious video about a girl from school they are upset with. Dark Web helps make it viral, causing untold misery to all involved.
Awake & Unchanged: At the funeral of her unfaithful husband, a woman comes to grip with her life choices as her bitter daughter questions why her mother never left him.
Four Chairs: A woman examines her life choices and tries to better understand why she made them.
Auditions: Three women show up to audition for a role in a play, only to discover that they are actually auditioning for the roles they currently play in their lives.
Life’s Choreography: Two women dancers are working with a difficult choreographer, who keeps riding one of the women particularly hard.
The Other Side of the Wall: A young couple celebrate the night when they get engaged as their neighbor is going through an emotional breakup. Each one doesn’t know what’s happening on the other side of the wall.
Write Therapy: A creative writing teacher volunteers to mentor youth in a juvenile criminal center. But she targets one intelligent yet jaded detainee for a surprising reason.
America’s Game: Based on the true story of Octavius Catto. In 1871 Philadelphia, teacher and black activist Octavius Catto is meeting with his students when he hears of tension at the local polling place. As he goes to investigate, he is assassinated by merciless Frank Kelly. Both Kelly and Catto are whisked into another dimension to Cosmic Court where Catto chooses a strange form of justice: baseball.
Where and when will WITHIN REACH hit the stage? Well, that’s yet to be determined. Stay tuned.
If anyone is interested in learning more about any of these shows, please feel free to reach out to me.
It’s a good day when a new show has been written. It will only get better once the lights turn on.