The Daily Tar Heel
Printing news. Raising hell. Since 1893.
Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024 Newsletters Latest print issue

We keep you informed.

Help us keep going. Donate Today.
The Daily Tar Heel

Each year, PlayMakers hosts national ensembles for its summer residency program. Rude Mechanicals is the fourth participant of the residency program, which was funded by a $250,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation awarded to PlayMakers in 2010.

Rude Mechanicals has spent a week in Chapel Hill developing their play “Now Now Oh Now” and will be here until June 7 tweaking their performance.

“It is a rare opportunity to get to focus this well for this long,” said Shawn Sides , the director and actor in the play.

Sides said she was at a Theatre Communications Group conference when Joseph Haj , producing artistic director for PlayMakers, asked her if they were interested in participating in the residency program.

Lana Lesley , an actor for the play, said they chose their play “Now Now Oh Now” because it has touring support behind it and because of the incentive to finish and present it.

Rude Mechanicals has only performed the play publicly twice, as workshop performances in Austin in 2012. In September, the group will officially debut their play and perform it for audiences at Duke University.

“By putting it up on its feet, there was a general consensus that we needed to work on the ending,” actor Thomas Graves said. “The ending wasn’t quite as satisfying as we wanted it to be. That was our main focus as we went into this residency.”

Graves said the initial inspiration for the play came from the 80s television show “Cagney and Lacey ,” and from the book, “A Thousand Plateaus.” He said in the end the audience-interactive play will combine elements of coding, puzzles and science.

Sides said now that they’ve done most of the editing, they can focus on the staging.

Jeff Meanza , associate artistic director of PlayMakers, said they, as a professional regional theater, can provide those resources because of their relationship to the university.

“Being able to have another set of hands working on a project to support the work makes it really valuable for them,” he said.

Meanza said the residency program is tailor-made for ensembles and provides them with various resources such as salary, travel, housing and other technical resources.

He said this program is valuable to ensemble groups because these groups will be entirely funded by their performances; unless they have seed money from a grant, it can be hard to get by in these developmental stages.

“The whole focus of this is about the development, so it’s not about getting something ready for a performance; it’s more about exploring and having the freedom to explore without the pressure of generating revenue,” he said.

Contact the desk editor at

To get the day's news and headlines in your inbox each morning, sign up for our email newsletters.