Mormon Artist

Gary Elmore

Photo courtesy Gary Elmore

How did you get involved with New Play Project?

I got involved through a friend of mine who was working with NPP in Provo. When I came up to go to school there, she guided me towards it. It had very good word of mouth from here and I had met James Goldberg previously on a spring break trip, and he seemed like a very interesting fellow. I decided I’d take a chance and audition with them, as I’ve always loved theatre, and from my very first production I just fell in love with the company, and moreso the people. I’ve kept coming back ever since.

What all have you done with NPP? Which do you like the most?

I’ve been a writer for NPP (though, granted, none of my scripts were ever chosen, with good reason), as well as an actor in four shows, a director of three, and a producer of the seven which were in Lost and Found. Acting has always called greatly to me and I am truly the most happy when doing that, but I find that my skills lend me most capably towards producing.

Describe your experience with NPP thus far—the plays, the people, etc.

I’ve had really good experiences on the whole, especially considering all the drama that could occur in a drama department. I guess my favorite play experience would be a play called “Maror,” which was a drama about a family who goes through the loss of one of their children. In it, I played a bishop who was trying to console the grieving family but was unable to. It makes me smile, remembering all those rehearsals we had in James’ garage in the freezing Provo October weather, all of us huddled around the floodlights grasping for warmth and struggling with lines on a page. But I think what was most amazing was that even though the script was some very serious matter, we always managed to laugh during rehearsals and have a good time while still being productive.

As for the people, the list is as long as the number of people in NPP. Every single one of them is such a good person who is so dedicated to helping others in one form or another.

Tell us about NPP: Austin.

NPP: Austin is a sister organization to NPP: Provo and is dedicated to the same basic principles—to help inspire the local community to enjoy the fine arts more. We are a fledgling organization, but already there is a lot of interest from the population and we’re looking forward to producing our first set of shows, entitled The Games We Play, in mid-August. We are starting our workshop for new plays next week as well as beginning our first week of rehearsals. It is a busy and exciting time for NPP: Austin.

The idea came to me as I was sitting around discussing theatre with all my friends in Austin and how we wished there would be an organization such as this here, which would take a play from start to finish. I realized that I had already had a wonderful experience with a group that did this.

One thing we’d like to see, which my friend Katherine suggested, is having more than just straight plays performed. I would like to see the day when NPP: Austin has dancing, live music, and all the other forms of the fine arts. Then I think we’d finally be the true organization to help further such a cause. The future looks bright for NPP: Austin and we hope to collaborate with Provo to help expand and enlarge each other’s programs.

Postscript question: How did The Games We Play turn out? (Asked August 28, 2008.)

We had good attendance—about twenty-five people came into the library where we performed. After the show they gave us some good feedback afterwards, the most critical being that the shows need to be longer in the future, which is an interesting difference from NPP: Provo. Our next show is entitled Every Dark Cloud, and we plan to perform these sometime in mid to late October. ❧

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