Work in Progress: The Necessities

An interview with playwright and SMU theater provessor Blake Hackler about this new play.

By Shelby-Allison Hibbs

DallasSecond Thought Theatre finishes its season with the world premiere of Blake Hackler’s The Necessities. Hackler has appeared in many plays in DFW as an actor at Undermain Theatre and Trinity Shakespeare Festival, directed acclaimed productions at Undermain Theatre and elsewhere. A member of the Southern Methodist University Meadows School of the Arts Division of Theatre faculty, he is also an accomplished playwright.

His newest play tackles loneliness and belonging in a small Texas town. In The Necessities, Hackler continues the stories of two characters he created in two previous plays and delves into issues that connect to Hackler personally. We chatted with him about the work.

TheaterJones: Where did the inspiration for this play originate?

Blake Hackler: Well I had written another play that had a couple of workshops in New York. It had been done here in town and there was a supporting character in that play, named Debbie. And I loved her so much, and I loved writing her so much that I wanted to know what else happened to her. So that was one thing.

Then at the same time, I was working on another new play with a character called Peter. And I wanted to know what his continuing story was. With those two people in mind, I sketched some scenes that eventually became the whole play that Second Thought is doing. So those two characters were the seeds; and then some other thoughts I was having sort of coalesced into that play.

What is The Necessities about?

It’s about these two people, Debbie and Peter. They moved to this very small town in Texas. They’re looking for companionship, I think they’re also looking for wholeness and comfort. They meet a mother and a son who are living in the town who are also pretty lost in their lives.

It’s about a series of encounters between these characters, mostly between Peter and Ward and then Debbie and Carly. So, that’s kind of at the basis of what it is.

And then there are very strange elements. There’s talk about a wormhole in town that people can step through or not.

It’s about people meeting and figuring out how to be loved, and what they have to give to get loved. It’s a play a lot about loneliness and also about what it means to be alone. I think about how scared people are of being alone, and the things they will do to not be alone.

Read the full interview.