This past May I finished a year long residency with the New Jersey Play Lab developing my play And Every Creeping Thing. It was a play I first heard read aloud thanks to their PlayGym program, and then continued to work on for a year on and off until it was accepted for their residency program in February 2022. As a playwright still relatively early into his career, I found the PlayLab's guidance and expertise invaluable to bringing my play and my craft to the next level.
When I first drafted And Every Creeping Thing I was, like many in the world, trapped in a house trying to hide from the novel coronavirus. Like fewer, but still many, other people I decided to use this time thrust upon me to work on a creative project. I wanted to write to the spirit of creation itself, a love letter to the very act of making something new and presenting it to your community, and hoping people like it. It was spring in the mountainous parts of New Jersey, and life was sprouting anew. I also wanted to write about bugs. And corporate art.
And Every Creeping Thing is an office comedy that follows the angels as they design animals to be incorporated into creation. The story follows Entiel, the low ranking angel who designs insects, and Arachne, his best friend trying to solve the problem of the food chain.
This central question about the nature of creation became the core theme that the play structured itself around. With the Play Lab, we asked questions about who gets to create, how we create, and most importantly why we create. We looked at how Entiel embodies these themes, and focused in tightly on his character arc. From him every other character fell into place.
The goal of a residency with the New Jersey Play Lab is to get the playwright and their script to "production ready". There were multiple readings, meetings, and several drafts over the course of the year that brought me and my play to that level. The Play Lab does not guarantee a production for the play, but I am thrilled that less than a week after my residency ended, it was picked up for a production with Alpha Arts players at Sussex County Community College this summer.
I cannot recommend the Play Lab enough to other writers, and I am proud to be a part of their community of dramaturgs and playwrights. I cannot imagine where my play would be today without their expertise and guidance.