“It’s really hard to tell people true things.”
This line is repeated throughout the course of How the Light Gets In, Chautauqua Theater Company’s first New Play Workshop show of the season.
The show opens at 8 p.m. Thursday, July 18 in Bratton Theater, with additional performances at 4 p.m. Friday, July 19, and 2:15 p.m. Saturday, July 20. In that span of three days, How the Light Gets In will explore how difficult it can be to open up to other people, but why it can be important to do so. And while the characters in the show find it hard to tell one another the truth at times, the show’s director, Emilie Beck, hopes Chautauquans will find it easier to talk to one another at the Brown Bag discussion, “Fresh Ink: Behind the scenes of our New Play Workshop How the Light Gets In,” at 12:15 p.m. Thursday, July 18 in Bratton Theater.
“It can be easy for us to put up a façade, and hard for us to be real and true (with one another),” Beck said. “But when we recognize that we are safe, that we are allowed to be our true selves, that is such a gift. That’s something I want to explore and discuss prior to the show.”
Although coming into a show with no knowledge of the plot or concepts it deals with can be beneficial to some stories, Beck said giving people context for what they’re about to see can also be valuable.
“Any time that we can provide context for a play is helpful,” Beck said. “The way I want to offer that to this audience is focused on the desire people often have to create something that masks our true selves.”
The play follows a handful of disparate characters as they encounter one another in a Japanese garden. Slowly, surely, these individuals connect with one another and come to understand that, although they are all flawed in some way, those flaws do not take away their worth. At the Brown Bag discussion, audience members will have a chance to talk with members of the cast and crew and ask questions about themes, the production process or anything else they might be curious about in advance of the show’s opening.
Playwright E.M. Lewis said she hopes attendees will take the opportunity to dig deeper into the topics the show presents.
“Whether it’s Japanese architecture, the concept of kintsugi or the cultural significance of tattooing, I hope that people take some time to learn a little more about anything they’re interested in,” Lewis said.
Lewis said that while audience members are taken through some emotional territory, there’s a positive message at the heart of the show — one that encourages people to connect with one another.
“When we feel most alone, we’re not,” Lewis said. “Sometimes we can feel very solitary, especially when traumatic things happen to us, but there are often connections and people where we least expect them.”
The New Play Workshops are sponsored in part by the Roe Green Foundation.