THEATER FOR THE NEW CITY
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, CRYSTAL FIELD
LARRY AND LUCY
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Reminiscent in tone of classic films like “Midnight Cowboy” and “Whitnail & I,” “Larry & Lucy” is about two emotionally wounded outsiders struggling to find a sense of place in the world. The play touches on the themes of loneliness, togetherness and the continuing opiate crisis in America.
THE STORY: Larry is a worn-out, 60-year-old, semi-famous street muralist who now barely supports his meager, one room Hollywood existence by driving for Uber. Lucy is a fragile Kansas City teen runaway looking to beat a heroin addiction. After a few chance meetings where Larry picks Lucy up near the methadone clinic she frequents, the two embark on a series of misadventures that help them gain insight into their troubled lives, yet also reminds them of the difficulties they’ll face when trying to overcome their afflictions.
STORY BACKGROUND: In the summer of 2017 the national opiate crisis entered my life in a very personal way. A family member who I’m very close with went into drug rehab for the third time while I was staying with her family in Arizona working on a video project. I had known about her prior struggles with heroin addiction, but since I lived thousands of miles away in New York I had no genuine perspective of just how severe they were. I also had no idea what it was like to be in day to day contact with someone who is struggling with this problem, and the upheaval of emotions you experience as a caring observer.
The story I’ve written, LARRY & LUCY, is a direct response to that experience; and though the setting and characters are not one and the same, they do reflect many of the emotions I had while trying to help someone I truly care about. I wish I could say these emotions were all positive in nature, You know- a shoulder to lean on, the gift of giving, happy to be there for you. However, most of the time I felt just the opposite. In fact most of the time the only emotion I felt was hopelessness, and not just in regards to the family member struggling with addiction, but hopelessness for myself and my ability to help someone who desperately needed it. However, beyond the daily check ins to see if they were still breathing, the random words of encouragement and the occasional pickups and drops off at the methadone clinic, it quickly dawned on me that this wasn’t really my problem to solve as much as I wanted it to be, I say this with near certainty because if it had been my problem there would’ve been more things I could do on my own to remedy it. However, this was their problem, and though I believe my influence had some positive effect, it would ultimately be up to them as to whether they beat this or not, whether they lived or not. This lack of control over something I wanted to fix so badly completely took me by surprise, and has left me questioning aspects of the human experience in ways I never imagined.
I feel this is the core dramatic question of LARRY & LUCY- can we really help each other or are we ultimately left all alone in the world to figure it out for ourselves? Sure I can help you move a couch or lend you fifty bucks, but can I or anyone help you beyond that? And though in some way I already know the answer to this, I still find it interesting that we want to help each other despite the possible futility of that pursuit. It seems to play right into the suggestion of the famous Beckett quote “Ever tried, ever failed. No matter. Try again, fail again, fail better.” Of course if Larry and Lucy fail in helping one another again it might just cost them their lives. If that isn’t a story worth telling, I don’t know what is.
PETER WELCH* (Playwright, Producer, Various Roles)
Peter Welch is a New York City based multidisciplinary artist with professional credits as an actor, playwright, filmmaker and fine art photographer. His fine art photographic work has been exhibited in various venues throughout the world and has been given citations by the International Photography Awards on six different occasions . These images often explore the American landscape in an attempt to find a sense of place in an ever changing, commercially oriented environment. Examples of this work can be seen at www.peterwelchphotosales.com
As a filmmaker Peter directed the feature film Three Long Years, which was picked up for worldwide VOD distribution by Zurich based Diva Releasing. He also co-directed the hybrid documentary/fictional film The Piles Project, which featured Art World superstars Mark Kostabi and Taylor Mead. Most recently he completed directing the experimental shorts After Life 2016, Celebration Day and Collective Immunity.
To date Peter has had four full length plays produced in New York- Two Alone/Too Together, Autumn Stage, Don’t Tell Mother and Thelonious, as well as a dozen short plays. In addition to playwriting, he has also acted in dozens of plays, films and television shows including leading roles on A&E’s critically acclaimed Fugitive Chronicles and the Cannes Film Festival award winning short A Bike Ride. Currently Peter is developing The House Arrest Rooneys- a new sitcom for network television, which has recently been signed by Adler & Associates, who will be taking the project to the Cannes Film Festival & Market in May.
* Denotes member of Actor’s Equity
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