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home : hope-area news : general July 23, 2017

2/1/2017 4:42:00 AM
Laws of Jackson Street coming to dinner theater

By Jennifer Willhite
For HSJ Online

Hope resident Pete Law says doing your own thing challenges you in different ways.

The 42-year-old is excited to bring his one-man show, "The Laws of Jackson St." to WILLow LeaVes of Hope dinner theater, which opens next weekend.

Law says he hopes those who come to see the production walk away reflecting on how everybody has a place they remember growing up and have special memories.

"Memories are very important," he says. "I want people to feel rejuvenated because right now there is so much negativity out there. I want to provide something that offers laughs and nostalgia -- an escape."

Donning a variety of hats, from writer and producer and beyond, Law will be the main character presenting stories from his childhood who looks back over the years in his one-man show.

Set in the town of Hope, the play examines what it's like to grow up on a small town and the social laws that go along with it.

"It is a lot of storytelling along with reenactments of scenes from my life," Law says. "I've had the ideas for a long time, but as I've been writing it, I've been pinpointing what scenes I want to use the most."

Inspired by episode titles from the 1990s sitcom "Friends," Law's play is divided into a dozen laws that define each scene. For instance, the first scene is "Law 1: How I Met Your Mother." During the 75-minute show, which chronicles Law's life from the time his parents met up to about his 10th birthday through a series of vignettes, Law is set to impersonate a dozen characters, including his late parents - who both died when Law was in his 20s.

"One of the things I've enjoyed is this play has helped the grieving process," he says. "Even though it happened a long time ago, the grief is still there and things happen that amplify it sometimes. No one will ever replace those people. So telling the funny stuff has kept their memory alive."

Law admits that one of the biggest challenges has been trying to discover if the audience will find the play as funny as he does. Since this is an original work, there is no precedent or prior production to go by as a framework or blueprint, he says.

"I have no idea what people are going to find funny or not," he says. "This is baptism by fire."

However, doing a one-man show does have its perks; especially the way Law has designed this one. Creative license offers him the ability to alter the storyline and script as he goes to adjust to his audience, he says.

Columbus resident, Collin Banks, is Law's nephew and has been Law's technical assistant for the past couple of years. He says this show is definitely different from past productions.

"From my aspect, all plays are different - especially when it comes to sound," 22-year-old Banks says. "The lighting is the easiest part, but the sound and getting the keys down is a little tough."

Keying in sound to play on cue is very important, especially for a one-man show, Banks says. It comes down to getting familiar with the script, knowing where sounds need to be and organizing things in the order they're supposed to be. One wouldn't think sound wouldn't play such a pivotal role, but when it serves for the cues for character changes it is everything.

Banks says being able to help out family is what he's enjoyed the most.

"Being able to help out my family any way I can, especially Pete," he says. "He's always been there for us. It's a way to give back to him because I know this is something he is very passionate about."

Law admits he is a bit nervous going into opening weekend, but it's not dampening his excitement.

"The thing I'm excited about is doing something original," he says. "There's not a lot of that happening. I'm hopeful it will prompt people to try different things, like writing plays and presenting them. Get some freshness in the local theater scene."

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