My summer at La MaMa Umbria resulted in the complete overhauling of a play I’d been stressing over for years, Eight Blocks From Edgar. I even hated the title. It’s the story of a gay couple losing touch with each other (and reality) due to the sexual opportunities provided by such apps as Grindr. Easy story, right? Wrong.
In 2016, Pittsburgh New Works Festival presented a concert reading. As I sat there, watching Tristan Reid and Harry Gerhardt give lovely performances, all I could think was, “It doesn’t work, it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work.” Because it didn’t. So, I put the play away after that.
Something about that August in Italy — being guided by our teacher, Erik Ehn, and the company of all those splendid playwrights — called me to return to the play. I could finally see what it needed to do.
January of 2018 reunited all the 2017 La MaMa Umbria characters in New York for a weekend long marathon of presentations. It was time to show off Eight Blocks From Edgar. Only now, it was called Legacy, and it had teeth.
Once again, I lured staged reading maestro, Shaun Peknic, to direct. He brought in gorgeous Wil Petre to play Edgar. I brought in the adorable Remy Germinario to play Lance. What a team they made; their chemistry was bouncing off the walls. Shaun guided them to a wonderful place and we presented Legacy to an incredibly receptive and large audience. I finally found the play.
At weekend’s end La MaMa gave us a banquet of perfect Italian cuisine. They’d flown in the chefs who’d prepared our meals at Umbria! Of course, it was perfect! What a fantastic time.