Seven Ways to Get There is an original dramedy written by local playwright Bryan Willis, and based on the actual therapy sessions of Dwayne Clark, self made businessman and CEO, and his friends in group. Theater Artists Olympia is proud to present the second staged production of this new play which debuted at ACT in Seattle last February and will hopefully in time be on its way to Broadway.
The play follows a group of seven men in group therapy run by a female psychiatrist. Reticent a first, these men slowly begin to open up to their doctor, each other and themselves to examine and overcome their personal demons. As the story unfolds we discover what makes these men, and their counselor, human underneath their seemingly broken exteriors.
In a recent interview with Bryan Willis we were given some insight into the origins of the play and the man who commissioned it. Dwayne Clarke did not grow up wealthy. Raised solely by his mother, he worked for many years as a corrections officer before starting on the road to become a successful businessman. While it may be easy to look upon his wealth and success now, it’s important to remember that behind all that he is still a man, and is prone to the same highs and lows as any other.
While the events of the play may have been mostly fictionalized to fit a more dramatic narrative, the characters and their emotional journeys are authentic. According to the playwright the character of Nick (who is based off of Mr. Clarke) is about 80% the actual man and only 20% creation, and the other members of the group are true to their real life counterparts. In one particular case, the character had to be smaller and less outrageous than the actual man so as not to overshadow the rest of the cast.
It’s not often we come across people so close to home, strangers in our midst, whose lives are laid so open before us. If we pay attention we can learn that everyone holds secrets within them that are as compelling as anything we see on television or at the cinema. The human spirit is strong and resilient, but over time, through enough wear and tear, it can become something terrible to behold; however, it’s important to remember that no one, no matter how damaged or estranged, is beyond redemption.
Seven Ways to Get There runs from May 6, 7, 8, 12, 13, 14, 15, 19, 20, 21 at The Midnight Sun, 113 N Columbia St. in downtown Olympia. Tickets are $15.