Kelly McAllister has a good feeling about his play-in-progress, April's Fool, which is a "metaphysical comedy" with a lot of unrequited love.
"I have a gut feeling it's going to go far," says the Denver playwright, screenwriter and director. "It's going to start here and I don't know where it's going to end."
Another play McAllister wrote, Burning the Old Man, wound up being performed in New York, the Czech Republic, Austria and Brazil. But before April's Fool crosses any borders, actors will stage a reading of it as part of the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center Theatre Company's Rough Writers: a new play fest.
"Playwrights have increasingly fewer opportunities to be able to hear their plays out loud, which helps them in the development of their work," says FAC theater director Scott RC Levy, who created Rough Writers.
It started last November with a call to playwrights who had to base their play, of any length, on one of three artworks from the FAC's A Family Affair: Selections from the Progressive Art Collection exhibit, which is on display until May 19. "[We] weren't necessarily looking for the best scripts," Levy says, "although what was intriguing got to the top of the pile. We were much more interested in presenting scripts that felt like they were worth developing."
Of the nearly 100 received, four full-length plays and six shorts from writers both local and national were selected by a panel of theater professionals for staged readings over four days between April 18 and 21. From here, audiences will offer feedback, and the writers will have a week to make changes before a second reading. Following that, audience members who have seen all the plays will choose a winner, whose work will be a part of the FAC's Second Stage 2013-14 season. (Rough Writers caps off its inaugural year.)
This is a first in the company's 25-year history, which, who knows, could make new, original plays de rigueur at the FAC. That's what it's asking of its Rough Writers, after all. As McAllister puts it, "This play was [about] breaking out of more conventional modes of writing for me and going to new places."