“That’s really what I’m getting at, is to write what feels familiar,” says playwright, Audrey Cefaly, at a talkback following her play “Love is a Blue Tick Hound” at Terrific New Theatre. This play is a collection of four short plays, “Fin & Euba,” “Clean”, “Stuck” and “The Gulf”, which each feature two characters, one of whom is stuck in some sort of predicament.

Cefaly, a Southern writer and Alabama native, focuses her writing on the characters, rather than the plot. The press release for the play says, “Her work is finely tuned to the colorful voices and stories of working-class people and seeks to explore the human condition through intimate character‐driven vignettes expressly designed and edited to effect a cathartic release for the viewer.”

She describes this cathartic release as religious, saying, “People don’t fall in love with plot; they fall in love with people, and I want, when people come to see my stories, I do want it to feel like church…”

These short plays chip away at something deeper than what is initially presented to the audience. As the play goes on, the characters and their true motivations are revealed. And while the four plays are not connected by their content, they share a thematic connection.

Cefaly says, “Thematically, I think the plays are connected because, in every single one of these pieces, there’s a protagonist that’s stuck… I think everyone can relate to the idea that you find yourself in phases in your life where you just feel stuck…and it’s not that it’s that bad, except that it is, except that you just kinda go along and then you realize, ‘I’ve just been not happy for so long’.”

The simple set that consists of various boxes, set up differently for each play, and the presence of only two characters onstage lend themselves to a viewing of a play that focuses on those characters and their relationships. The audience is not distracted by an elaborate set or other elements, but is free to immerse themselves into the struggle that the characters are going through.

Cefaly has developed a sort of formula for her 24 minute plays, and each one follows a similar structure, but each play contains a different type of struggle. One audience member told Cefaly, “The form, that’s interesting to me…but first and foremost, it was the reality of the humanity, and I was moved.”

Another audience member, Kalyn Lake, was curious as to how the four plays would fit together, especially with no apparent connection between the four. After seeing them, she realized, “Even though the plays were very different, they all had an overall theme of love that connected them.” It was this realization that led to her appreciation of the piece.

This underlying theme of love, and love amidst tension, connects all four plays. They are written to show this love to an audience because Cefaly looks for the heart in each situation. “In every single episode of The Office, there is someone aching for something. And the writers let us see that…There’s that ache and that longing, and I may not understand your predicament, but I recognize the ache, and that’s what those writers are getting at, and that’s what I’m getting at.”

To learn more about “Love is a Blue Tick Hound”, click here.

To learn more about Terrific New Theatre, click here.