Had a wonderful final day of performances for Amy Ziff’s Incubator Project, ACCIDENT, which closed our three-week stint at Studio Theatre. Everything worked out well with this rental arrangement, Stage 4 proving to be a very fitting venue for Amy’s scruffy downtown piece. I am very glad to have done what we did, offering ourselves up to a broader cross-section of the community. Thanks to Michael Skinner and his Pendragwn Productions staff, we were able to videotape last night’s performance — it will be a great help to director Rebecca Asher, on the West Coast, and Amy, out East, to continue to look closely at the work as it stands in this iteration and see where the piece wants to grow to next.
I’ve been advocating for some stronger transition material and a topper of an ending that builds on the strongest emotional moment of the play right after Amy talks about seeing her mother in heaven, remembers their many times together, and then sits to play the cello and sing “Accidentally.” It’s after that that the play didn’t quite know where to go emotionally.
There’s a brand new scene we’ve been discussing that could replace Amy’s encounter with the BETTY fan, Dixie, right after the cello song. The moment would be reminiscent, perhaps, of OUR TOWN where Emily looks back on the life she left behind and sees things carrying on without her. In this case, Amy, in reconnecting with the presence of her (dead) mother, would see the birthday party for band member Alyson Palmers’s child Ruby that Amy would be missing. Which would prompt an epiphany. Well, that’s what we were hoping we might add as the run went on, but things sort of got locked in. The next stages of development for the piece will happen far away from Washington. But we’ll be there in spirit.
And this morning, we wake to read a rave review of Lawrence Wright’s MY TRIP TO AL QAEDA, a play we almost had running in rep with Amy’s ACCIDENT until we lost it in the middle of June and had to remove it from our season brochure. It was a close call, but Larry and director Gregory Mosher got the opportunity, first, to film the performance on 9/11 — though I’m not sure that actually happened — not once the Kennedy Center came in and picked up where our negotiations had broken off. Anyway, this is not something to rue and be resentful of; it’s a great show and was deserving of a bigger platform. Would have been a great and compelling project for us to put on at Theater J and I loved my encounters with Larry and Greg. Thrilled that, with today’s great news, they’re set for three huge sold out performances in the Terrace Theatre.
Ah, but our publicity would have been so much more artful, no?