Highland News Leader

Production of previously unpublished play gets kudos for Highland theater company

This photo appears in the newly published script for the play “Drinking Habits 2” and is from Hard Road Theatre’s performance of the play last January.
This photo appears in the newly published script for the play “Drinking Habits 2” and is from Hard Road Theatre’s performance of the play last January. Hard Road Theatre

The show “Drinking Habits” was the most successful play (non-musical and non-children’s show) that Hard Road Threatre had ever done, both in terms of attendance and funds raised. So doing the sequel was a no-brainer, even though the work had yet to be published.

“When we were presented with the opportunity to do this show, we thought it would be a good follow-up, and that the opportunity to produce a world premiere was too good to pass up,” said Tom Varner, who directed both “Drinking Habits” and “Drinking Habits 2” for Hard Road.

Hard Road actually missed doing the global premiere of the show by six weeks. A group in Ohio beat them to the punch. However, the show in Highland was the second place anywhere to produce the play, and it was the state and regional premiere when it hit the stage last January.

Hard Road found the unpublished script by directly contacting its the author, Tom Smith.

“He had heard that we had performed the original show (“Drinking Habits”) earlier in the year and wanted to let us know that he had just finished writing a sequel to that play and wanted to know if we were interested in performing it,” Varner said. “Since the script hadn’t been published, yet, we worked directly with Mr. Smith and paid royalties for the production directly to him.”

New York City-based Playscripts Inc., an independent publisher of new plays and musicals, is now the sole publisher of “Drinking Habits 2.” All scripts are published by them and all performance rights are attained from them.

But with those scripts comes a special acknowledgment to Hard Road. The production information from Hard Road’s production is listed in the front of the script. There’s also a photo from Highland production featured in the play, and Hard Road is mentioned in the thank you.

“The scripts you would receive, whether in digital or hard copy form, will contain the acknowledgments to Hard Road in it,” Varner said. “It’s a great honor that our little theater group in Highland has been recognized this way. Anytime anyone anywhere picks up a script of “Drinking Habits 2,” they will see Hard Road’s name and Highland.”

Smith also sought out Hard Road’s feedback.

“In addition, he contacted us after our production closed to see if we had any suggestions about the script: what went well, what didn’t, and how to improve it. We sent him a list of things we thought worked well and things we thought didn’t go over so well.”

“Drinking Habits 2” has been performed several times since Hard Road’s production last January, and there are already a few productions of the show lined up for 2017.

About the play

Set in the present day outside the small town of Shady Glenn, USA, “Drinking Habits 2” follows the misadventures of the Sisters of Perpetual Sewing and their friends. An orphanage with a strong connection to the convent is in danger of closing unless $5,000 can be raised in four weeks. In order to raise the needed funds, the convent decides to perform a play written by Mother Superior.

Meanwhile, the other nuns of the convent agree to make a secret batch of their award-winning wine to sell to supplement the play’s proceeds. But when Mother Superior believes she’s had a holy vision, the lead male actor can’t remember his lines, and the woman playing the Blessed Mother can’t stop her uncontrollable cravings — because she’s pregnant with twins — things are thrown into chaos and everything that can go wrong does just as the curtain rises.