Great Plains Theater Conference

So this is the wrap-up of my week in Omaha. I can’t say enough about how much fun I had and how much it’s recharged my batteries and gotten me excited about creating more theater. On Friday, the festival started to become what I think it wants to be. Most nights have been ending around 10, after a performance of an Albee or a Kopit work. Tonight, Tim S. directed a late-night staged reading of a Mac Wellman work-in-progress at a fringe theater in downtown Omaha.

hscrop3.gifIt was fantastic. Like much of Mac’s work, it’s impossible to describe. Suffice it to say that the stage directions are a major character. There’s a dwarf in a fez, a crowd of thousands, and a talking car. And, as Mac said after the rousing ovation, “No good will come of it.”

Mac has been one of the true joys of the conference. He has an impish way of critiquing people’s plays by suggesting they read some play by some author so obscure we wonder if he isn’t making it up to send the writer on a wild goose chase. His master class was brilliant, with him telling everyone to write the impossible, to create a theater of wonder.

The conference ended with a gala, and then a bunch of us went off to find Omaha’s gay bar. When it closed at one (?), we made the artistic director of the aforementioned fringe theater let us in for boxed wine and hanging out onstage. A very late night, with a very early flight in the morning.

5 Replies to “Great Plains Theater Conference”

  1. Wellman really was the superstar of the week, wasn’t he? Not only was his work fascinating and great fun, but Wellman himself was quite a pleasure to be around.

  2. Max! Great to hear from you. Yeah, I loved his comments. Although your Buddy piece was also quite a hit. As I recall, that was the piece that had everyone raving about how great the acting talent in Omaha is.

  3. Mac is awesome. Who else is out there? Are you enjoying it? I got a bit impatient with the now Albee-less Last Frontier Conference, but Alaska was great…

  4. The official “luminaries” were Edward Albee, Arthur Kopit, Mark Lamos, Emily Mann, Patricia Neal, Kathleen Chalfant, Mac Wellman and Joel Vig; the featured playwrights who had their full-length plays staged were Clarence Coo, David Crespy, Jakob Holder, Shayne Kennedy, Lee Myers, Glyn O’Malley and Max Sparber.

    There were a few rough patches with transportation and hotels because it was the first year, but Omaha (and all the Omaha folks) were great…

  5. One day I’ll be a luminary.

    I was quite glad to have the Blue Barn reading my play. They’re my first theatrical home, and my favorite theater.

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