Ryan McCurdy has been working on the script for his absurdist comedy, Negativa, for three years.
Filled with slapstick and crazy characters, the play will be presented in a world premiere Aug. 18 and 19. “It’s a play written to be appropriate for the entire family, but it’s not a piece of children’s theater,” McCurdy says.
“It deals with adult ideas,” he says. “Negativa is a metaphysical, absurdist play.”
Negativa centers around an individual’s search to find just the right thing to share with his audience. The play runs under an hour, has no intermission and no admission charge, providing a perfect opportunity to introduce theater to children.
McCurdy says the play portrays one man’s daily struggle with life. “It’s about people try to get through another day,” he says.
“Friends try to stab us in the back. You fall in love with someone and never speak to them.”
The play has the feel of vaudeville. “It’s based on a dream I kept having,” McCurdy says.
“Negativa is a very, very absurdist sort of play,” says director Sasha Travis. “I think it is beautiful.
“When you break it down to pieces, it is a play about love and the response to love,” she says. “It is entirely underscored by music Ryan has written for it. Some is wild and jumpy and very danceable, and some is quieter, more for a string quartet.”
McCurdy says as he wrote the play, he was thinking about what the music was going to be. “I’ve written plays before, but never actually scored one,” he says.
Although he has never had formal musical training, McCurdy learned to play the piano from his grandfather. “He taught a lot to me,” McCurdy says.
Originally from Charlotte, N.C. and Atlanta, McCurdy is a soon-to-be graduate of the Savannah College of Art and Design. He and Travis recently founded the Savannah Actor’s Theatre, but decided to stage Negativa at S.P.A.C.E., where it was more likely to attract families.
Negativa has a cast of four actors. “They are all extremely talented and I love working with them,” Travis says. “All are 6 feet tall.”
Members of the cast are McCurdy, Skye Whitcomb, Ted Evans and Danica Leigh. “The production team is top notch,” Travis says. “This is a show that is fun for the whole family.
“That was very important to Ryan,” she says. “So many people don’t see a play until they are 25 or 26 years old.”
Evans says his character provides comic relief and compliments Whitcomb’s character. “The play is very off-the-wall and quick,” he says. “Time makes no sense at all.
“I spent a lot of time reading into it,” Evans says. “I finally realized that you just have to roll with it and enjoy it for what it is. It’s very wacky.”
Evans was graduated last June from SCAD with a degree in media and performing arts. He currently works as an actor at Old Town Trolley Tours, but hopes some day to do voice-over work.
“When they see me, people stereotype me,” Evans says. “With my voice, I can do a lot more than I can physically.”
Although he is now the director of the Savannah Actor’s Theatre, McCurdy has no intention of giving up acting. “I get a role and realize really quickly how much I love being on stage,” he says.
“Acting is one of the few hobbies people can have as well as make it their profession,” McCurdy says. “It is one of the few that can have such an incredible effect on people.” ç
The Savannah Actor’s Theatre and the Cultural Affairs Theatre will present the world premiere of Negativa, a new play by Ryan McCurdy, on Friday, Aug., 18 and Saturday, Aug. 19 at 8 p.m. at the City of Savannah’s Cultural Affairs S.P.A.C.E., 9 W. Henry St. Admission is free and the play is suitable for the entire family. For more information, call the Savannah Actor’s Theatre at 232-6080.