Theatre, like painting, is declared dead every few years only to be reborn in a new form shortly after the ink dries.
Lucky for us, artists choose to ignore these proclamations, seeking to connect with audiences who still yearn for new, exciting ways to experience the arts. And we are lucky to have both local and national organizations committed to delivering on this challenge. When we're especially lucky, local leaders, like the Grand Rapids Civic Theatre (GRCT), band together with national organizations to produce amazing opportunities here for our community as these volunteers step onto the national stage.
In this case, GRCT is part of a new nationwide call manifested in the NewPlayFest. Starting with a contest where more than 200 new plays were submitted to the American Association of Community Theatre (AACT), they selected six to be produced and debuted around the country under this new festival seeking to energize this art form.
It's our great good fortune as a community that Grand Rapids Civic Theatre was selected as one of the six producing theatres around the country to debut Richmond, Virginia's playwright Bo Wilson's latest work The Boatwright at the inaugural AACT's NewPlayFest.
The Boatwright is the story of fifty-seven-year-old Ben Calloway's journey to find his home again, even if it means he will have to sail over the Atlantic Ocean to make his yearning complete. Oh….and I should note he has never seen the ocean.
The story really picks up when his neighbor Jaime Watson, who is experiencing a host of problems (from a suspension from the college where he is majoring in film to a parent equally suspending parental support), suggests to Calloway that he be allowed to make a film about the experience while the boat is being constructed.
The play ventures quite fast down a few familiar roads, with themes that include the struggles of any age, of being lost, and the hope to connect beyond the loneliness that is not a trait of just one's place in time.
Admission: $16 – 28.