ACT Managing Director Becky Witmer just knew it when she saw a reading of Keiko Green’s new play, Wad last year. This was something special.

“Watching the workshop reading of Wad was the moment during the pandemic last summer that I realized this can work,” Becky says. “I couldn’t take my eyes off of Rachel and Avery on screen and I was engrossed in the story, almost like at a theatre – or watching a movie. It was then that we knew this could be successful. We can successfully make theatre on a screen that is captivating and effective.”

Playwright Keiko Green

In Wad, local playwright, ACT favorite and member of the Core Company Keiko Green weaves together a darkly humorous, unpredictable tale about Jim, who is on death row and his pen pal, Nyce – a senior in high school.

Wad tackles a lot of larger issues that are important to me like: the need for many young women to feel in control of violent stories, the realities of a death sentence, and the fetishization of true crime,” says Green. “But ultimately, it’s a story of two lonely, broken people who somehow find a strange version of connection in whatever way they can. I think that now more than ever, audiences can empathize with the need to reach out, to understand someone else, to listen.”

Director Ameenah Kaplan

ACT Core Company members Avery Clark and Rachel Guyer-Mafune bring Jim and Nyce to life. Wad is helmed by Ameenah Kaplan. Ameenah is a director whose work combines elements of magic realism, dance, and music. She works in stage and film.

Translating a work meant to be seen by live audiences into a high-quality, recorded stage play is challenging. “I think of myself as a show creator, so I want to create new shows,” Kaplan relates. “I want to create something that is badass and stays in the lexicon. That ground-up collaboration between a producing partner, a writer, and the three of us get together: the impetus, the money, and the vision. I want to be part of that initial creative team that does something new from scratch.”

Wad premieres on ACT’s virtual stage March 5. Digital season packages are available now.

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