The four events of The Hayes Project might seem unrelated at first.
But they're not.
The Project began in December with an open reading of the script for IF I HAD MY WAY.
It took a right angle into spoken word/jazz improvisation for JAZZ SPOKEN HERE in January, with myself and the jazz trio La Lucha exploring the rhythms behind the words.
In May, THE MOCKINGBIRD NEWS , a one-person show with live percussion that examines the path of stories, fables and lies in 5 short acts, marked my return to Orlando Fringe for my 20th anniversary as a playwright.
Finally, everything learned from those events fed back to IF I HAD MY WAY, with a full production in June, 2022. Looking at the evolution of a play from seemingly unrelated angles is probably not something audiences or would-be playwrights would consider, and the addition of musical elements in decidedly non-musical plays often sparks new ideas for creating new works.
Set in 1945 Florida, where the realities of WWII and its drain on local manpower meant a shortage of workers on local farms, a shortage addressed by the US Army by "lending" residents of area POW camps to fill the gap - Kissimmee Air Base was developed as an Italian detainee camp and became such a part of local community that POWs would often be seen shopping in downtown Kissimmee and even going to the movies. The play touches on the shared experiences of farm help, the children of enslavement (in its many forms) and people, often forced into warfare, who find themselves captured, put on ships and told to work during the day and live behind barbed wire at night.