Summer was pretty incredible. Not just because of the countless trips to the beach or time to catch up with friends. I mean those were great, but this summer was different. For the first time in my life, I got to experience a slice of professional theatre through PlayPenn’s new play-development summer conference. Despite spending four weeks of napping on couches at the Drake Theatre in Philly and running solely on coffee and sheer willpower, I would do it all again.
The best part about my time at PlayPenn was definitely the people. I had the chance to work with professional actors, directors, and playwrights from places all over the country. The experience was truly unforgettable. By the end of it, I knew one thing: I’m on the right path.
The other day, I was on Facebook and saw an advertisement for a staged reading for one of the new play, Click, at Theatre Exile. The play was written by Jacqueline Goldfinger, the incredible Director of Education at PlayPenn whom I had the pleasure of working with through the conference. The reading was one-day only and just happened to be on the only day that I didn’t have a conflict. On a whim, I wrote it in my calendar and decided to go.
I’m pretty familiar with the trains and regional rail in Philly, but Theatre Exile was a place I had yet to explore. After crossing a few too many highways and walking through some potentially sketchy parts of Philly, I made my way to the theatre’s performance space at the Latvian Society, right on the outskirts of Center City. Going to a show alone is always a bit nerve-wracking, but I was excited to go on a date with myself.
After the super-cool experience of being able to purchase a discounted “Artist” ticket (moving up from the world of “Student” tickets!), I waited for the house to open. While waiting, I heard someone call my name. I turned around and saw my friend Courtney, whom I actually met back in North Carolina while working at the Brevard Music Center. We were absolutely shocked to see each other. This was the second time we’d run into each other in Philly; last year we ran into each other at Temple University, though while in North Carolina I had no idea she went to school in Philly! The “Twilight Zone” moment enthralled me and I no longer felt alone.
By the end of the production (which was extraordinarily compelling), I had run into four other women I’d met through PlayPenn. Seeing these familiar faces was the highlight of my night. Now that I’ve had my taste of the professional theatre scene, I want more. And who knows what unlikely encounter might await me.