Roadtrip to Morgantown

After driving through the quaint seaside towns of Connecticut, the chaos of New York and New Jersey, the endless rolling farmlands of southern Pennsylvania, and the twisting mountains of West Virginia we arrive in Morgantown. And just in time to celebrate burrito Friday at Black Bear Burritos, then quickly walk through the wintery mix to the MT Pockets Theatre Company. We are here for their annual one act play festival, which features productions written by playwrights from around the country.  Megan’s play, Hit Person, was one in ten chosen from a pool of over 300 submissions.

I am overdressed. My three piece suit, which I put on to express pride in my wife’s accomplishment, is too much for the casual, friendly atmosphere of the MT Pockets. Everyone knows each other; some of them have worked together to build this event. Just as I start to wish that I was wearing my standard jeans and hoodie, Toni Morris, the creative director gives us a warm welcome. She is expecting us.  Our 10 hour drive earns us VIP treatment to match my unusual attire: waived admission, and reserved front-row seats.

The show starts, and we experience 10 well written plays, some of them funny, some sad, some of them frenetic, some quiet. All of them are beautifully acted, and creatively directed to make use of limited resources. Megan holds my hand while her play is staged, nervous at the first time seeing her words come to life. She is close to tears (of joy) when the lights go down.

We meet the cast after the curtain call. They are all impressed that we drove so far, they recommend some good eateries in Morgantown, and they admit that they were more than nervous performing for the playwright in the front row. Though we are starting to get sleepy, we have enough energy to keep the conversation going for a bit. We learn that Missy Ryan, who portrayed Nichols in Hit Person, is a profession clown. She hopes to travel to schools and use her character Miss Pockets to educate students about pressing issues.  And Bobby Wolfe, who portrayed Spencer, was recently in Out of the Furnace and he shared stories about working with Woody Harrelson and meeting Willem Dafoe. We leave the theatre exhausted and elated.

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