In the summer of 2010, I got a phone call from Chad and Molly asking me if I would be interested in writing a play for a production slot in Partial Comfort’s upcoming season. To say that I was shocked is an understatement; this kind of offer is pretty much unheard of. In my experience, most plays go through years of development, are tossed around from theater to theater, literary manager to literary manager, rewritten endlessly, until maybe-just maybe-they wind up being produced. So for a company to hand me a blank check-making no demands and asking no questions about what the play was even going to be about-was a pretty unique opportunity as an artist.
This kind of openness and trust has been the hallmark of my experience with Partial Comfort: Their unwavering, and frankly revolutionary belief that the success of their company depends entirely on surrounding themselves with artists they trust and allowing those artists to create the kind of work they deeply care about. With no eye toward the good review, no eye toward the commercial transfer.
The play that I wrote for the company, A Bright New Boise, ended up being a turning point in my life as a playwright. It has now had more than a dozen productions around the country so far, in theaters ranging from 275 to 40 seats, from professional companies like Woolly Mammoth in Washington, DC and Rogue Machine in Los Angeles to amateur groups. The exposure the play brought me has helped me find a place in both New York and in regional theater. This is no anomaly-several other plays from Partial Comfort’s past seasons have gone on to have similar lives. For the last 10 years, in their quiet, unassuming, profoundly dedicated way, Partial Comfort has had a significant impact on the American theatrical landscape. Personally, the company has had an immeasurable impact on my career, as it has had on countless actors, directors, designers, and other writers. For anyone concerned with the health of the American theater, ensuring that Partial Comfort continues to thrive is, in a word, essential.
Which leads me to the reason I’m writing you.
An e-mail financial appeal is probably nothing new to you. You probably have at least six or seven of these in your inbox right now. If you’ve read this far, then thank you. You’re interested enough to hear our case. But now, I’m asking you to take one more step, and make a donation.
A donation of $1000 is wonderful, but you know what’s also wonderful? $20. $10. Even $5 will pay for that prop we really need, or those rewrites that need to be photocopied, or a round trip on the subway for an actor to get to and from rehearsal. We’re by no means a big company, and even the smallest donation has an impact.
I hope you’ll consider taking a moment to help keep Partial Comfort alive, and help artists like me continue to create new plays.
Samuel D. Hunter