From PlayFest: David MacGregor on ‘Vino Veritas’

Here’s playwright David MacGregor on his play Vino Veritas, followed by some biographical info:

What’s your play about, in a couple of sentences?

Vino Veritas is a dark comedy about two couples who get together on Halloween night and share a ceremonial wine brewed from the skins of blue dart tree frogs in Peru.  Under the influence of this tribal truth serum, they share a night of unbridled honesty that stretches the bounds of their marriages and friendship forever.

What was the impetus that made you want to write it?

Perhaps twice a year, I meet a friend of mine to golf at a course halfway between our houses.  We say we’re golfing, but really, we are there to talk.  And we talk to one another with complete openness and candor.  Nothing is taboo, and we share things with one another that we would be hesitant to share with other people.  These aren’t simply personal secrets, but the kinds of things that people may think, but rarely voice out loud.  We try to make sense of our lives, our families and the universe, all while swinging a club and hitting a ball.

On one occasion, a single golfer approached us and asked to join our twosome.  My friend smiled and replied, “No, no.  You should go on ahead of us.  We’re going to be talking about things you would probably find very disturbing.”  And it got me thinking.  My friend was right.  The presence of a third person would have completely changed the things we talked about and the way we talked about them.  Based on that, I wrote a short play called 18 Holes, in which two friends golf eighteen holes and engage in 18 separate conversational snippets.  The response to that short play was so positive, that I decided to expand the concept of people speaking the truth to a full-length play.  What Vino Veritas explores is the idea that while some people need the truth to be happy, other people need to avoid it as much as possible.

Has it been produced anywhere else?

Yes.  The play premiered at the Purple Rose Theatre in Chelsea, Michigan in 2008.  It was subsequently featured as part of the Nebraska Repertory Theatre’s 2009 season, and in April-May, 2010 it will be performed at Theatre B in Fargo, ND.

What do you hope to get out of its inclusion in PlayFest?

My hope is that the reading sparks a desire to mount a full production the play.

David MacGregor (Playwright) was born in Detroit and is a lifelong Michigander. He has sold or optioned numerous screenplays and won screenwriting awards from the American Cinema Foundation (1998) and Fade In Magazine (1999); he was also chosen as one of ten finalists in the 2001 Motion Picture Academy’s Nicholl Fellowship Competition. His most recent screenplay, Shadowplayers, was just optioned by Fishbowl Films. On the theatrical side, his plays have been performed throughout North America and Europe. In 2002, The Late Great Henry Boyle premiered at the B Street Theatre in Sacramento, California, and subsequently received its Midwest Premiere at the Purple Rose Theatre Company in 2006. In 2008, his dark comedy, Vino Veritas, premiered at the PRTC and subsequently enjoyed a sold-out run as part of the Nebraska Repertory Theatre’s 2009 season. As always, his thanks and gratitude go out to everyone at the PRTC for their talent and passion. This one is for Guy, a true alchemist if ever there was one.

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