Web brings players, playwright together
|"Hell to Pay," a farcical comedy about an ad agency rep and his deal with the devil, opened at Lake Superior College on Thursday thanks to connections on the Internet.
There were actually two connections.
First, when Debra Peterson, who directed "Hell to Pay," was told about a great Web site, Playscripts.com, where plays from playwrights all over the country posted their work, she immediately began perusing the site.
It didn't take long for John Andreini's comedy to catch her attention.
Peterson works as an ad agency executive at Northland Broadcasting, and Andreini's play about an ad exec who found himself in such a quandary that he sold his soul to the devil to win an account and then ends up developing an ad campaign for hell, had her laughing out loud.
"I brought the script to work and everybody loved it," she said. "They made jokes, like 'Doesn't this sound just like this place?' or 'I sold my soul 10 years ago.' I just had to do it."
Meanwhile, Andreini, who actually lives in Minneapolis and works at a graphics design agency there as a senior copywriter, took a look at his site on Playscripts.com a few weeks ago to see where his latest plays were being produced.
Imagine his surprise when he saw that "Hell to Pay" was opening in Duluth in a few weeks.
"It was like 'Wow!'" he said. "I haven't had anything produced locally -- It was something I could see without traveling very far."
So he called Lake Superior College and told them he was coming up for a performance.
"When they said he was coming, I got really nervous," Peterson said. "At first I was just shocked. I figured he lived on the East Coast, but once I got used to the fact, I was excited about it."
Peterson and the cast had a chance to meet Andreini after the show at the Lake Superior College Theatre on Saturday night.
Everybody was all smiles as they talked to the man who had written the play they'd had so much fun producing.
"We were all wondering if you worked for an ad agency," Peterson said, as Andreini told her about his day job.
Andreini liked the production, especially the power point program used to sell the ad campaign for hell. "I thought it was excellent," he said. "Who did you get to narrate that? He sounded like a professional."
"He was a professional," Peterson said, and laughed. Johnny Lee, who works at Northland Broadcasting, did the voice over, she said.
The play, which runs through next weekend, is only one of many available on Playscripts.com.
The Web site was launched two years ago to represent playwrights and authors and get their work out there.
According to an e-mail received from the site, Playscripts.com has licensed 410 productions and shipped well over 4,000 books to 20 different countries since it went online.
"While our core services of book publishing and (play) performance licensing are common to any play publisher, our online promotions provide a significant extra boost for playwrights," Doug Rand, of Playscripts, Inc., wrote in his e-mail.
And, because each playwright and author can monitor all of their productions and book sales, they can find out about local productions before they're over and make plans to attend, he said.
Andreini was well satisfied with his experience.
"I don't have an agent, but with Playscripts.com it doesn't matter," he said. "This was just great."
"Hell to Pay" will be performed at 7:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, April 12-13 at 7:30 p.m. and at 2 p.m. Sunday, April 14.
"Hell to Pay" is presented by the LSC Student Life Program and features adult language and mature themes. Tickets are $5 and can be purchased at the door.
Currently enrolled LSC students can get one free ticket. For more information and reservations, call 733-5935.