Molly Welsh has worn many different hats at the Great Plains Theatre Conference. She’s been a house manager, an actor, a location manager, a sound designer and a participating playwright. This year, she dons the playwriting cap once again as one of only two Nebraska playwrights chosen for the GPTC PlayLab readings (and the only playwright from Omaha). This is Welsh’s second play selected for Great Plains (her first was Crash! Boom! Pow! written with Ben Beck).
Her new play is called Penny Gets Bit about a woman named Penny and her boyfriend Jimmy. They seem like a normal dysfunctional couple until one day Penny comes home after being bitten and quickly begins to change into something she’s not. Rather than calling it quits, the couple try to work things out even though Penny is clearly becoming a zombie.
“It’s about who and what you are looking for,” Welsh said. “Why have you chosen to put yourself in the relationship that you are in and is that the best thing for you? When everything changes, how much will you stand by that person?”
What makes the play unique, Welsh said, is it’s genre-defying nature. “It could be a romantic comedy, a James Bond movie, a zombie play, but it’s not really any of those things. I don’t think it will end the way people expect it to. I try really hard to write theatre that’s not predictable.”
“I’m looking for people who are bored with reading plays and books and zombie movies and romantic comedies. I’m looking for people who want to blend genres and touch on feelings we don’t often get to.”
Besides the different genre, Welsh stated that the main difference between Penny Gets Bit and Crash! Boom! Pow! is the development process. Crash! Boom! Pow! went through 38 drafts. Her new play has only gone through two. Her hope for the conference, though, is similar to the last time around.
“The PlayLab was really helpful in determining what pieces and images really stuck out to an audience. It helped reveal the strengths that could be built upon. The ultimate goal for this show is to get it produced in the next year.”
Penny Gets Bit, directed by Max Sparber, will be read Sunday May 26th at 9:30am at the Fort Omaha Campus of Metro Community College. The reading is free and open to the public.