This letter appears in the program for Everything You Touch.
There’s a moment in the process of making nearly every play that we think, “People have no idea what it takes to do this.” It takes such a village to make theatre. And the journey of a play from conception to fruition is always an incredible odyssey.
Occasionally a playwright writes a play in four days, a theatre decides to produce it, and the process is really that simple. But more often the road to a full production is much longer, with many stops along the way.
In the case of Sheila Callaghan’s Everything You Touch, Sheila first introduced the play to Jessica in 2010 when it was just a monologue and Sheila thought it might be a musical. It was just called The Fashion Play. They did a reading in a bar, and then Sheila went away to continue developing the idea in New York with True Love Productions, who initially commissioned the play, and with New Dramatists in their Playtime series. She honed the story and clarified for herself the way in which she wanted to tell it. She then shared another draft with us.
In 2011 The Theatre @ Boston Court staged a reading of an early draft of Everything You Touch for our PLAY/ground New Play Festival, where we often program plays that we’re interested in exploring for full production. That reading was enormously successful, and we subsequently had exciting “Brain Trust” meetings with Sheila about the play, in which our literary managers, along with the two of us, talked about what we received, Sheila’s vision for the play, and how to get the play to continue to become its best self.
Sheila had also been having other readings, among them several at Rattlestick Playwrights Theater in New York, with Artistic Director David Van Asselt who has been another passionate advocate for Sheila, the play, and its further growth and development.
While Sheila was doing that, we were trying to figure out a way of programming a production. But because there are elements that this play must have to tell its story—chiefly, a very significant fashion component and a model chorus—the financial requirements were beyond our means for our 2013 Season. If we wanted to realize this play we were going to have to reach out to many other resources. We utilized an Edgerton grant which enables us to afford a slightly bigger-cast world premiere, and also reached out to several individuals and companies who are passionate Sheila Callaghan fans. And Rattlestick, who was interested in producing the play themselves, also came aboard as co-producers. By invoking not just some, but all of these resources, as well as a whole design team who are able to make our relative ten cents look like a million bucks, we were able to pull together enough resources to finally program this play.
So this is the result of a process that started at least five years ago in the mind and heart of Sheila Callaghan, and grew under the collaboration of countless artists who helped with the development and production of this play, as well as the passionate supporters who made it financially possible to realize. Now that’s what we call a village.
And of course, it would all be meaningless unless we were able to share it with you. Thank you, you intrepid theatregoers, for being this village’s final and crucial inhabitants.
As ever, we hope you enjoy the ride!
Jessica Kubzansky & Michael Michetti, Co-Artistic Directors for The Theatre @ Boston Court