Local playwright Blake Hackler’s world premiere of “What We Were” is presented Aug. 28-Sept. 21 by Second Thought Theatre. The co-production with Fort Worth’s Circle Theatre is directed by 2TT Artistic Director Christie Vela. Performances will be in Bryant Hall on Kalita Humphreys Campus in Dallas before moving to Circle Theatre Sept. 26-Oct. 19.
“The way Blake writes people, the way he writes relationships—he has a way of capturing this part of the world that transcends race and class. It’s just about Texas people,” said Vela. “I come from a family of seven sisters, and I feel like I understood immediately what these relationships were—how they relate to each other, talk to each other, care for each other, or not.”
The youngest of three sisters, Tessa returns after disappearing 17 years before. She spent her adult life moving from state to state and foster family to foster family, pretending to be a teenager. When her older sister Nell learns that 35-year-old Tessa has been found out, Nell must decide how much of her past she’s willing to face.
The four-person cast features Lydia Mckay as oldest sister Carlin. Tessa is played by Jenny Ledel; and Jessica D. Turner plays middle sister Nell. Benjamin Stegmair makes his Second Thought debut as teenager Luke.
Co-production With Fort Worth’s Circle Theatre
Artistic Director Alex Organ said, “It’s been thrilling to bear witness to the evolution of Blake’s work over the years. My personal opinion is that this play is Blake’s finest. I love all his plays, but in terms of depth, and in terms of maturity, this one feels special. It also feels right to feature this piece for our first co-production with another theater, to help us explore whether this experiment of doing a play in Dallas and Fort Worth is sustainable or even necessary. When Matthew Gray, who has long been a collaborator at Second Thought, took over at Circle a couple of years ago, we immediately started exploring opportunities to explore the possibility of a collaboration. We are hopeful that it will provide us with a model we can repeat in the future.”
Aaron Johansen will design lights, and John Flores designs sound. Dahlia Al-Habieli is set designer and Caroline Hamilton is assistant director.
“What We Were” previews at Second Thought Aug. 28 and 29 at 7:30 p.m. Opening and press night is Aug. 30 at 8 p.m. Pay what you can performances are Aug. 28 and 29, and Sept. 2, 9, and 16 at 7:30 p.m. PWYC tickets are available at the box office one hour prior to the start of the performance, subject to availability. Single tickets are on sale now at secondthoughttheatre.com and can be purchased for $25.