Although the True Troupe hasn’t been around for a full year yet, founder Adrianna True has been trying her best to do everything she can to make the Cheyenne arts community better than ever.
She’s been trying to create all types of new events over the past nine months. One of them was this year’s Plays Against Humanity, a do-it-yourself event where actors, writers and all types of theater folks got together to create brand-new short plays.
Now, she and the rest of the troupe are coming back next weekend with a send-up to Wyoming writers: Wrights of Wyoming, a festival centered around six Wyoming playwrights.
“I’ve seen many other companies who do playwrights festivals such as this, and was super intrigued by the idea of doing something similar here,” True said. “Often, this type of work is set up in bigger communities like L.A. or New York as a way for playwrights to get their work heard and seen before it goes to print. The idea we had was to create a similar experience for playwrights, while also showcasing to our community the talent we have, not just from an actor’s or designer’s perspective, but from a local writer’s perspective.
“The objective we have is to showcase that talent to our audiences, but also to tell stories. In creating this event, we chose to perform our shows as a staged reading, meaning actors will have scripts in hand, featuring minimal sets and costumes, but with just as much emotion, passion and overall story.”
The three-day festival will kick off Friday evening in the Playhouse at Laramie County Community College and will continue Saturday night and next Sunday afternoon. True noted that the Friday performance is recommended for anyone 17 or older, due to the discussion of more mature themes. However, the other two productions are family-friendly.
There will be six playwrights whose work will be showcased over the weekend: three from Laramie, one from Cheyenne and two from Jackson. In total, they will stage nine plays over three days. True chose them due to their strong scripts and because of the themes they tackle.
“They topics they cover range from a Wyoming-themed kooky murder mystery to a father in declining health struggling to remember his kids and the past he had with them,” True said.
“Many of the plays touch on themes like love lost, a death in the family and new retellings of ancient legends. I think featuring stories like these helps us get to know each other better as a community, as you start to see a side of people you didn’t before.”
“Maybe you hear a story and connect with someone you never thought you would, or maybe you learn that some else’s favorite memory is also one you share. It helps us to humanize each other,” True said.
Friday night’s program will mean delving into discussions of death, loss and grief for future generations. Saturday will be all about love for others and family and how death often brings us closer. Finally, May 12 will feature mystery, magic and a futuristic dreamland.
True hopes the festival can become an annual event, both because she believes the community is hungry for new, exciting and interesting stories, but also to help playwrights from all over the state showcase their work and expand to new audiences. She wants to show that these writers are creating something powerful and raw, and the people of Cheyenne need to see it.
“We hope that after seeing our productions, audiences will come to have a larger understanding of our community, our artists, our writers, and be inspired to share their own stories,” she said. “We are a community full of history, passion and good stories. The more we can document those and share them with future generations, the more that we as a community can grow together and share the rich history we possess.”