For many Broadway-bound theatrical properties, the out-of-town tryout is an essential ingredient.
It allows new plays to breathe and blossom from the rigidity of the page to the dynamic environment of the stage. When jokes don’t land or moments seem false, the script and performance can be fine-tuned in accordance with audience reaction. The result, if all goes to plan, is a final product more genuine and more attuned to the rhythms of real life than a play conceived and developed in a test tube.
That process has been adopted and adapted by the Road Less Traveled Theatre (500 Pearl St.), which will present the first result of its out-of-town development process, called the BETA program, with the local premiere of Donna Hoke’s play “Safe” on Friday in its home on Pearl Street.
The show, which takes up the issue of generational bullying and cyclical violence, was presented in a workshop version at Saginaw Valley State University last November directed by Buffalo native and former SUNY Buffalo State professor Dave Rzeszutek. Its Buffalo premiere will be directed by Kyle LoConti and stars Christopher Evans, Michele Benzin, Matthew Gilbert, Lisa Ludwig and Jesse Tiebor.
The show, set in 1986 and 2011, concerns a woman (Nancy) living under the watchful eye of two men with control issues: her widower father and her husband. As the play progresses, according to a release from the company, “Nancy begins to examine the forces that have made her a prisoner in her own life and strives to undo this vicious cycle of fear and abuse.”
The show runs through April 3. Tickets are $20 to $35, with more info at 629-3069 and roadlesstraveledproductions.org.