For the fourth and final show of their 2019 “Season of Belief” Baltimore-based company Rapid Lemon Productions is set to present the world premiere of Proxy, a play co-written by a pair of young local authors. We spoke with Alex Reeves and Nell Quinn-Gibney about their work.
What inspired this play? What was the genesis for the ideas behind Proxy?
We are focused on writing shows that fall into unconventional genres for the stage – fantasy, sci-fi, horror, etc. We believe these genres can provide a unique lens to discuss relevant, modern topics.
How has it evolved since the first draft? Talk about working with the Inkubator New Works Development Lab.
This piece was originally written as a one act – the entire second half evolved throughout our work with Inkubator New Works Development Lab. The first draft went through several complete overhauls – new plot points, new character relationships, new themes. It has been an incredibly exciting process to see which have emerged triumphant into the show’s current state!
T.P. Huth, who runs Inkubator, is also directing this production for Rapid Lemon. What’s it like working with T? Describe their relationship to the play.
We have been so privileged to have the opportunity to work with T not once, not twice, but three times now! They have been an incredible advocate and friend, and we completely trust their vision of the piece.
You are the team behind Out of Ink Productions. How do you two work together—what’s your collaborative process?
The name Out Of Ink is a bit of a clue to our process – we procrastinate, we write one terrible page, we procrastinate, we each accidentally write the same scene independently, we procrastinate. Usually some sort of last minute magic happens – right when we’re almost out of ink, energy, and time. The terrible bits and pieces we’ve managed to cobble together start to shift and change into something almost – coherent? Interesting? We write – and rewrite – furiously, for a period of 72, 48, even just 24 hours, sometimes producing full drafts in under a day. This may be an unconventional method – we’re not sure! But something about that energy and that inability to have any inhibitions serves our creative process very well.
What different strengths do each of you bring to the table?
Nell tends to be the volume writer: writing large qualities of material very quickly. Alex would like to point out that it’s a lot of quality material very quickly; Nell appreciates this but can neither confirm nor deny. Alex needs journals and journals of planned plot and character development from the very beginning, and is incredibly strong at weaving together many different ideas into a coherent, compelling plot.
What is the greatest challenge you face when play-writing?
Writing with a partner is both our greatest asset and our greatest challenge. It requires compromise – on the process, on the end product. It also requires huge amounts of scheduling.
And, in particular, what challenge did you encounter with this play? How did you overcome it?
One of the characters in the play struggles with a terminal illness. We both have family members who have gone through this, but neither of us has personal, first-hand experience. It was extremely important to us to do the research we needed to approach this issue with the proper respect.
What themes does the play address? How do you see them manifested in today’s culture?
Our two most prevalent themes in the play are themes of identity and grief. These are reflected through the science fiction lens, but are extremely relevant in today’s society. What makes someone an individual? How can you live a life on your own terms? What do you owe to the people around you? How can you build your own relationships? How do you handle loss and grief?
What might audiences experience while seeing the play?
We hope there will be some laughter! This is not a comedy, or really a light show by any stretch of the imagination, but we tried to include moments of hope, hilarity, and joy. The rest of the show has more of a heavy, sad, frustrated bent, but more than anything, we hope it asks the audience to think and ask questions.
How does it feel to see your work produced on stage? Are you involved in any decisions about the production?
We have been very hands-off with this production – partially due to our busy schedules, and partially because we wanted to see what would happen to it when it was out of our control. We love T’s work and trust them to take this piece to the next level. We absolutely cannot wait to see the finished product – it’s almost unreal. Nell tends to forget she was the writer when watching her own work on stage, and loves the moment afterwards of, “I did that.” Alex loves to see how different people interpret different moments and the amazing ways the work changes and grows. She loves making new discoveries.
What’s next on your plate?
We’re glad you asked! We’re currently mounting a brand new show for 2020 Charm City Fringe. “The Possible Place” is a comedy about mental health. It’s a bit Disney’s Inside Out meets Pippin. “When reality feels impossible, just close your eyes. Anything can happen. So Maddie has discovered, 11 years old and learning how much the real world can hurt. Instead, she’d rather become a cowgirl. A witch. A captain on a spaceship far away. How long can she keep her eyes closed?” For tickets or more information, visit https://allevents.in/baltimore/the-possible-place-at-charm-city-fringe-festival/200018076496504
Thank you both!
Proxy by Alex Reeves and Nell Quinn-Gibney appears October 11 – 20 at Baltimore Theatre Project, 45 W. Preston Street, Baltimore. For more information visit Rapid Lemon Productions at www.rapidlemon.com. For tickets call (410) 752-8558 or purchase online.
Parking Alert: Due to the annual Baltimore Greek Festival, Preston Street will be closed to traffic October 11 – 13. Please allow a little extra time for parking that weekend.