Life + Arts

Playwright makes dreams a reality in script’s world premiere

The School of Theatre and Dance is putting on the world premiere production of Scott Kaiser’s “Now This” on Friday. Kaiser is in Houston for the showing and is excited about its premiere and seeing the play in its final form.

“It’s been through a lot of forms,” Kaiser said. “I think the most difficult thing of writing a play of this nature is having real human beings, real actors to help you.”

The play features 62 characters played by a cast of 19 and covers a wide range of issues facing American culture. “Now This” seeks to call the attention of the audience to the consequences of modern culture.

“The play has a lot to say about our consumer culture,” Kaiser said. “If I can just get people to think a little bit about the culture that we live in, grew up in and take for granted — which is driven by consumerism — and what the consequences of that happen to be, that would be good.”

Ideas are relayed to the audience by an ensemble cast and through the struggles or observations of each character. Kaiser worked very hard to bring all of his ideas together.

“At certain times in the development of each character, there were crisis points where I didn’t know where it was going to go,” Kaiser said. “There were times when I had no idea where certain characters would fit into the puzzle.”

However, he’s developed each character fully and the final product resulted into a fully-fleshed storyline. When asked where his inspiration came from, Kaiser says that his characters all came from dreaming.

“I was kind of blocked as a writer and a friend of mine advised me to start writing down dreams,” Kaiser said. “So I started to write down dreams for a long period of time and accumulated small shards of monologues and material.”

Kaiser also attributes the development of the play and its characters to those who he has worked with at Oregon Shakespeare Festival and the cast.

“It’s an actor-driven piece,” Kaiser said. “The characters that you’re seeing — they’re an amalgamation of ideas given to me generously by actors who have been working on the roles for me. I don’t write in a vacuum.”

The playwright is also glad to have a director who shares his ideas and sense of direction for the play.

“There was never any disagreement about what should come first and foremost — that you always hear and understand the language,” he said. “There’s a lot of wonderful work in terms of costumes, scenery, projections, music and sound, but all of those elements are built essentially on a through line of language. For me that’s the most important thing — and to have a director who understands that is really important to me.”

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