Consider the Oyster, David MacGregor’s new play, opened at the Purple Rose Theatre in mid June and will run through September 3. A world premiere, it is the fourth MacGregor play produced by the Chelsea theater company. I spoke with the playwright and with Purple Rose’s Artistic Director, Guy Sanville before the play opened.
In the first scene of your new play, your characters are celebrating a Detroit Lions Super Bowl victory.
Talk about suspension of disbelief!
Sanville: The idea is that if the Lions can win the Super Bowl, anything can happen. (laughter)
MacGregor: We have the two Lions’ announcers do the voice over for us. It’s going to be great, but more importantly, it leads into the rest of the play which is kind of a fable, or a fairy tale, almost. It helps tell the audience to have a certain mind set, going in.
Your play last season, Gravity, revolved around science, and this play’s premise also centers on some scientific facts. Did you study science?
MacGregor: I wouldn’t say I studied it, in any serious sense of the term. I’ve always been interested in it. That’s where stories come from. No matter what you make up, it’s not as bizarre or outlandish as reality. The whole story is based on just two facts, one being that orthopedic surgeons are now using oyster shells to help repair human bone, whether it’s a bad break or osteoporosis. I also knew that all oysters are born male and they all turn female. So it seemed like a small step to go down that path. It’s a comedy, but at its core it’s also a play about what it means to love another person. And if the person that you love changes in some way, they get older, they lose their job, they get sick, change religion, when that happens, how do you respond to that? What was it about that person that you loved to begin with? Do you still love that person, in the same way that you did previously? It’s a comedy and it’s got to work as a comedy, but beneath all of it, to me that was the question that made it worth writing.
Sanville: It’s a really funny play, it’s sexy, it’s exciting. And there’s nothing in there for anyone to be afraid of. If it were a movie it would probably be PG 13.
And if the Lions do win the Super Bowl this year, you’re going to look like a genius! (Laughter)
MacGregor: I took a real leap of faith when I wrote this play and gave it to Guy last September. I had faith that the Lions would not win the Super Bowl. (Laughter) (Sanville is a loyal Packers fan.)
And they did not let me down!