The Key to the Cupboard
It’s hard to believe we’re less than a month away from another show. This’ll be our third show here at Misfit Theatre Company, our third run through of a brand new musical comedy, and the third time that I’ve been ridiculously lucky and blessed enough to have some of the most incredibly talented people in the world stand up on a stage and say some words that I wrote down when I definitely should have been sleeping.
Grimm and Bear it! at the 2016 New South Comedy Festival
When we started Misfit, our goal was to tell great stories with talented people, and I feel like every year I get more and more blown away by the talent we work with.
As a writer, I find myself rooting around in my brain, trying to find stories worthy of these people - which brings us to the inevitable question: what makes great stories?
For me at least, it’s not about the plot or the setting or the action or any of the things that might spring to the mind first. Those are important for sure, but for me plays live and die with characters. There’s a regular buffet line of characters here and there scattered throughout the vast wasteland that is my brain and the best part of writing a play for me is getting to sit down with those characters and find out who they are. What makes them tick, what makes them funny or sad, what makes them laugh or cry? Who are they and why is their story worth telling?
The characters from Pies & Prejudice - opened in 2017 at Brick Street Cafe
I feel like the most interesting stories aren’t the ones that feature the most climactic action, or have huge plot twists and beautiful settings. Great stories are told by great characters. The people who tell the story make the story great.
I simply love the characters in The Broom Cupboard, but those characters would be nothing without the people playing them. And that’s where you get to what I really want to discuss in this years ‘what’s Micah’s brain doing’ blog.
The actors. The cast.
Because let me tell you: these folks can put on a show. I’ve seen them do it over and over again for months now, and every rehearsal they find some new thing to do. Some new way to bring these characters to life - a facial expression or a gesture that makes this person that I created on the page jump up and come to life in ways I could never imagine.
I sit back and I watch these incredibly talented people pour in hour after hour on this script and I keep waiting for someone to go “Hey you guys know Micah wrote this right??” and then everyone to go find something more worthy of themselves to do. But, fortunately for me, they don’t. They show up every night and work for hours on lines, and music, and choreography. They laugh together, they grow together, they learn from each other, and they learn from their characters.
The characters of The Broom Cupboard - opens August 22nd
One of the questions people ask me a lot is if I ever get frustrated when actors mess up or go in a different direction with one of my characters and, honestly, it’s never once happened to me. These actors live in my characters' shoes, for months they’ve been showing up three nights a week and becoming these people, and growing these people, and turning them into something so much bigger and so much more real than anything I could ever fit onto a page. You can’t describe on paper how a character’s face lights up when they see someone they love, or how their world is changed by meeting someone new.
Only an actor can tell you that story. And I’m proud and humbled to say that I’m working with this incredibly talented, incredibly gifted, incredibly loving group of people. A writer does his best to create great 2D characters, great people with great stories but those people only exist in black and white. They exist in words, but not in reality. The best actors and the actors I have had the joy to work with this year and in years past, take those characters and grow them. They deliver that ‘Wizard of Oz’ moment where you’re staring at the screen in black and white and then the color kicks in - and watching that as a writer is magic.
the audience participates with the cast in the first ever Misfit Show
That’s why I hope you come to our show. Not to hear the words I wrote down, those words don’t belong to me anymore. Those words belong to Lindsay and Emily and Chris and James and Markel and our whole cast of ridiculously talented people who love what they do. That’s what you’ll see at a Misfit Show - you’ll see the love that’s been poured into it. The love that helped our crew finish our whole stage in one hot South Carolina afternoon. The love that gets our cast up for one last choreography run when they’ve just run that same choreography four times. The love that keeps our director and crew up all hours of the night polishing and fixing and planning every detail they possibly can, fully cognizant that theatre is chaos and even their best plans will probably have to be re-planned at some point. The love these incredible people have poured into this show is what makes this show great.
This will absolutely be a great show because these characters are embodied by these actors, and these actors have never and will never, deliver anything but greatness.
Micah Thompson is the resident playwright and co-founder of The Misfit Theatre Company