"A Rekindled Flame," a play Garry Posey wrote in graduate school more than 10 years ago, will be staged at Ensemble Theatre of Chattanooga today through Sunday, Nov. 21-24.
But it's far from the play the theater's co-founder and artistic director started with.
What began as a play with a simple exploration of love became one about love's redemptive power.
While readings of the play when he was a student and again at ETC in 2008 improved the product, a discussion with eventual director Caren Manser provided the proper tone, Posey says.
"[The discussion] was what it needed to [go] from a story that was interesting to one that defined the levels," he says.
The play tells the story of Rolf and Rebekah, two teenagers who fall in love in pre-World War II Germany. Although the couple are separated when Rebekah, who is Jewish, is sent to England by her parents to ensure her safety, they are reunited through a remarkable set of circumstances 60 years later at a retirement home in Florida.
* What: "A Rekindled Flame."
* When: 7:30 p.m. today, Friday and Saturday, Nov. 21-23; 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 24.
* Where: Ensemble Theatre of Chattanooga, Eastgate Town Center, 5600 Brainerd Road.
* Admission: $15 adults, $10 students.
* Phone: 423-602-8640.
* Website: www.ensembletheatreofchattanooga.com.
The discussion with Manser, according to Posey, helped shape some of the relationships, helped define the role of a grandson and made the character of Rolf more accessible to the audience.
Posey says when he wrote the play he was reading about German soldiers who were survivors of the war and their "propensity to create all kinds of realities for themselves to deal with the struggles that went on there."
His original inspiration, however, survives as only a "small component of the play."
Posey says it's been interesting seeing his first full-length play come to life. He hasn't attended a rehearsal yet because he recalled that directing the 10-minute plays he'd written made him want to kill one of the two: the director or the playwright.
He's confident, he says, that Manser "has a good, strong hold on it. Directorially speaking, it's in good hands. I believe in the collaborative event. My contributions are the words and the story."
The play, with its many helpful rewrites, is not only about the power of redemptive love, Posey says, but also will remind audiences "not to lose moments you have today that you might not get back tomorrow," to "accept people for who and what they are" and the importance of "forgiveness and moving on."
So when the play opens at ETC tonight, "I'm sure sitting in the audience will make me nervous," he says, "but I'm excited about it. The story is simple and endearing."
Contact staff writer Clint Cooper at email@example.com or 423-757-6497. Subscribe to his posts online at Facebook.com/ClintCooperCTFP.