Perception is everything in life. It can maneuver a great deal of one’s happiness and sadness, successes and failures, freedoms and hindrances. In local playwright Z.F. Mims’ script, “Forget About It,” Molly, Nate, Linda, and Alice all are trying to fit the puzzle pieces back together for Daniel, the play’s protagonist. He’s suffering a bout of amnesia, and though he strives to remember the past seven months of his life, his friends begin to question if it’s best for him to recollect being bogged down by depression and life-stunting pessimism. This new Daniel seems better off.
“As the play goes on, [audiences] may start to see some characters differently,” director Nick Reed reveals. “Things may come to light that change how [they] perceive the story.”
Playwright Mims constructed the script one winter break during his junior year at UNCW. Though not rooted in real-life, the dialogue most certainly finds itself replicating conversations Mims had with others.
“It’s not exactly based on true events, it’s more based on how I perceived them,” he clarifies. “Several moments in the play are exactly the opposite of their real-world counterparts. It’s an examination of what things would have been like if this had gone differently or if that were under different circumstances.”
Mims finished the first draft in a week. When he passed it around for feedback, it was a mixed bag the first time. Toward the end of the school year, Mims picked it up again and passed it around for more feedback. Positive reception led him to tweak it, and he finished “Forget About It” last December. In April 2014, UNCW’s Stage Co. presented it as the final show of the year. “Between the last show and this one, only small tweaks have been made,” Mims admits. “I tightened up the dialogue in a couple of places.”
Reed directed the inaugural production, which was held in the Wrightsville Beach Room in UNCW’s Fisher Student Center. Set-dressing remained scarce in the conference-room setting.
“We wanted the show to be bigger than what we were capable in the first run,” Reed says. “We previously had to use a minimal amount of furniture and makeshift lighting. The set is larger, better decorated and better lit. The show bounces back and forth between two locations, an apartment and a café, and thanks to the Browncoat’s space, we are able to create two separate and unique locations.”
As well, Reed has recast the performance with his assistant director, Kristen Auten. They updated the characters by casting Josh Bailey as Daniel, Lily Nicole as Molly, Matt Carter as Nate, Mickey Johnson as Linda, and Laura Baucom as Alice. “We try to introduce new concepts, ideas, and gags to help bring out their characters and make them lifelike, unique and interesting to watch,” Reed says. The directors want to put viewers in Daniel’s shoes, so to speak, and watch as a psychiatrist, roommate, hipster, and social butterfly attempt to reconstruct his life. In the throes of it all, audiences will be lost, confused and wondering about the best solution and outcome for Daniel.
“All of his friends consider him to be damaged at the start of the play,” Reed notes. “However, slowly they start to question what would actually be best for Daniel.”
Reed’s love of the script stems from the supporting cast of characters, actually. He has found depth in the five people he says he actually wish he knew in real life. “Daniel’s best friend, Nate, is a truly great friend and a great character,” Reed says. “I have the tremendous pleasure of seeing three characters being played by different actors in a fairly short amount of time. So it has been amazing to see the different takes on them. However, it is even more amazing to see what choices are stable for both of the shows—it really shows a level of talent in my actors and the incredible playwright.”
Mims admits shedding a tear after watching his words come to life in April. “Forget About It” is his first full-length play fully produced. Aside from a few one-acts in high-school. the music ed major (theatre minor) is a newbie to the local writing scene.
“While there is definitely a certain satisfaction to having completed a script, it’s nothing like seeing it done live,” Mims says. “The first time I attended a rehearsal of the previous production and heard the actors saying the things I had written, there was this feeling of, ‘There they are. They’re real people.’ I imagine it’s kind of what being a parent feels like.”
Reed has immersed himself into the local scene full-heartedly, having acted in UNCW shows, like “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and “Private Fears in Public Places,” as well as community projects, including “Comedy of Errors” and “Dog Sees God.” His next project will be penning something for Up All Night Theatre Company—a 1930’s radio theatre script—as well as submitting to City Stage Co.’s Fringe contest. Until then, folks can see the second run of Mims’ dark, comedic drama unfold at Browncoat Pub and Theatre, starting this weekend.
Forget About It
July 10th-13th and 17ht-20th, 8 p.m.; Sunday matinees, 5 p.m.
Browncoat Pub and Theatre
111 Grace Street