ACT Managing Director Becky Witmer just knew it when she saw a reading of Keiko Green’s new play, Wad last year. This was something special.
“Watching the workshop reading of Wad was the moment during the pandemic last summer that I realized this can work,” Becky says. “I couldn’t take my eyes off of Rachel and Avery on screen and I was engrossed in the story, almost like at a theatre – or watching a movie. It was then that we knew this could be successful. We can successfully make theatre on a screen that is captivating and effective.”
In Wad, local playwright, ACT favorite and member of the Core Company Keiko Green weaves together a darkly humorous, unpredictable tale about Jim, who is on death row and his pen pal, Nyce – a senior in high school.
“Wad tackles a lot of larger issues that are important to me like: the need for many young women to feel in control of violent stories, the realities of a death sentence, and the fetishization of true crime,” says Green. “But ultimately, it’s a story of two lonely, broken people who somehow find a strange version of connection in whatever way they can. I think that now more than ever, audiences can empathize with the need to reach out, to understand someone else, to listen.”
ACT Core Company members Avery Clark and Rachel Guyer-Mafune bring Jim and Nyce to life. Wad is helmed by Ameenah Kaplan. Ameenah is a director whose work combines elements of magic realism, dance, and music. She works in stage and film.
Translating a work meant to be seen by live audiences into a high-quality, recorded stage play is challenging. “I think of myself as a show creator, so I want to create new shows,” Kaplan relates. “I want to create something that is badass and stays in the lexicon. That ground-up collaboration between a producing partner, a writer, and the three of us get together: the impetus, the money, and the vision. I want to be part of that initial creative team that does something new from scratch.”
Wad premieres on ACT’s virtual stage March 5. Digital season packages are available now.