Monday, July 28, 2008

Barley And Hops Helps Group Write New Play

They’re energetic. They’re tireless. And they’re writing a new play - for Walkabout.

Say hello to Nothing Special Productions (NSP) – an Elgin theater company that’s had a busy summer.

They were already knee-deep into rehearsals working on the Chicago-area premiere of “Eroica” – a Vietnam War drama by award-winning playwright David Alex – when I approached them for Walkabout.

Even with a limited schedule, they were very interested in being a part of Walkabout. So, when I met with co-founders Nick Cardiff, Mikey Laird and Brian Rohde, their enthusiasm for the project was palpable. “This is the kind of stuff we love,” said Brian Rohde. “This will be perfect for us.”

Mikey Laird, who's directing the show, is enjoying the challenge of developing and directing a new play in a found space. "This will be an excellent opportunity for us to be creative and try something different," he said.

Recently I caught up with them to see how their show – “The Surprise Party” – is shaping up. I talked with Nick Cardiff, who is the lead writer of the play.

So how's the play coming?

"The Surprise Party" is going very well. We've recently had our "Ah ha!" moment so we are well on our way. We are very excited to see how the rest of the process pans out, especially since this
is the first show we've written.

How's the writing process developing?

We’ve come up with the structure and the dialogue will come together this week as a result of a series of exercises, explorations and improvisations. We hope to have a fully cohesive show by the middle of this week.

What can we expect? Will the show be a comedy, drama, etc?

What can you expect!? It's a surprise - maybe a bit of column A, a bit of column B, and a dash of extra.

How's working at Elgin Public House going?

It's great. We get to drink while we work! The Public House has been fantastic. They let us come in and do our thing. It's been a very fun process to tailor a show to a space and write while we are actually in it.

Well, there you have it. At least we know the guys at NSP won’t be parched. And working on a full stomach certainly helps.

“The Surprise Party” is the fourth play scheduled on the walk. Their show will be presented at the Elgin Public House. You can learn more about Nothing Special Productions at their website:

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