TLT backs creative ventures by staging new play

Published 10:00 pm Wednesday, June 10, 2015


Tryon Little Theater has always been a champion of the arts, and the organization showed its willingness to support a new venture when it invited a rookie playwright, Petra Harrelson, to stage her new play “Let’s Be Civilized” at the TLT Workshop. The show ran for two nights, and played to packed houses. In return for a free evening’s performance, author Harrelson and director Lavin Cuddihee asked only for feedback.

 “One year ago this play was in its infancy,” says Harrelson. “To bring it to the stage as a workshop production would not have been possible without the help of many, especially TLT for giving me this fantastic opportunity. The board members stepped out on a limb by facilitating an original play by a local playwright and I am most appreciative.”

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The workshop production in this instance was a farcical romp through history with some interesting twists. The staging was a step between a reading and a full production, with makeshift costumes, some actors still ‘on book,’ and last minute changes—a work still in progress—allowing the author and director to get a sense of how the play was working.

Cuddihee says that a production like this allows the playwright to refine the work beyond the written word, table reads, and scene studies; it gives the author more insight, and allows them the opportunity to be directly involved in the mechanics of how a script translates onto the stage.

It was exciting for the audience to witness “Let’s Be Civilized” at the fledgling stage too. To play critic, to laugh with the actors at their goofs and not just their lines, to give input and suggestions after the show, was a new experience enjoyed by everyone.

– Submitted by Monica Jones

Photo:  Director Lavin Cuddihee and playwright Petra Harrelson after the show.