Communal Pancake Performing Arts is proud to announce the opening of "Not Just Any Statue in the Park," a new play by local playwright Dave Geible on June 6, 2022. The play will be performed in a reader's theater-style on Jun 6-8 at 7 pm in the Lander Art Center. The reading features local actors Ed Novotny, Cameron Fehring, Joe Lefevre, Amara Fehring, and Oakley Boycott.
The story of "Not Just Any Statue in the Park" takes place in Athens and follows the Greek philosopher, Socrates, through his last few hours on earth. As he waits for death to come, Socrates' inner spirit, Damon, and his wife, Xantippe, visit him to ensure the little time he has left is full of amusement, philosophical wonderment, and laughter.
"This is a play about a philosopher-it is not philosophy," Geible said. "The dialogue and relationships it portrays may allow some people to think about new things, but that's not its objective. The plan I had was to show Socrates in a more personal light than most writing shows him."
Geible first began work on "Not Just Any Statue in the Park" shortly after graduating from college when he took an interest in Socrates' life and began reading as much as he could find on the Greek philosopher.
"The idea of a man so patriotic and loyal to his fellow citizens that he would accept their judgment of his character and teaching, even to the point of death, was one that I found as intriguing as it was astonishing," Geible said.
Geible wrote several dozen drafts of the play throughout the years, but he always cut the process short because he felt a need to follow the action laid out in Socrates student's Plato dialogues.
"They may be enchanting to philosophers, but they can make pretty dull theatre," Geible said. "I couldn't make the dialogues work for me. Once I decided to ditch Plato entirely and write the play with him as an offstage character, I was able to move forward."
In early 2020, Geible submitted the beginning of the "Not Just Any Statue in the Park" script to Communal Pancake Performing Art's First Three Pages to have his writing read by actors in front of an audience.
"The result of the First Three Pages was promising, and afterward, the artistic director, Amara Fehring, mentioned that she'd like to see me finish the script and send a copy to her," Geible said. "I did, and the coming reading is the result."
A reading or readers theater is a style of theater in which the actors present new material using scripts, minimal costumes and props, and no set or blocking. A narrator will read the stage directions aloud to give the audience the context for each scene.
"The goal of doing readers theatre is so the playwright can get vital feedback on the show," Communal Pancake Artistic Director Amara Fehring said. "The added layer of having an audience will help the playwright understand how the play will be received and what revisions may be needed. Plus, play readings are an excellent way for audiences to interact with the theatrical process and are a helpful tool for a playwright to help refine and hone their work."
By deciding to present the script in the form of a reader's theatre, the playwright will receive valuable feedback that will help clarify and finalize the script.
"My hope for this production is, simply put, to learn what parts of the dialogue work as it was meant to work and what doesn't work..." Geible said. "Until the script is spoken out loud by actors, this is all a figment of my imagination, and I won't know until I hear it performed that I can know I'm making sense to an audience."
Since the play is meant to be a comedy, Geible hopes the script will do what is intended - make the audience laugh. Rehearsals have helped the writing process, and Geible said he has already found some dialogue that needs to be finessed.
"Not Just Any Statue in the Park" runs June 6-8 at 7 pm in the Lander Art Center. The Lander Art Center is an intimate space and will be ideal for the atmosphere. However, seating is limited. RSVP by visiting the Communal Pancake online box office. Tickets will be available at the door, depending on availability. Tickets are general admission and are available at three different price points to ensure everyone can find a ticket to fit their budget. For more information about the cast, the play, and Communal Pancake Performing Arts, visit www.communalpancake.com.