Erica Smith on her play ‘Come Out and Say It’ by Teresa McCormick Ertel

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Each year The Mobtown Players selects an original work for production. This year playwright Erica Smith’s Come Out and Say It was chosen and is currently playing. The show was directed by Brent Englar and features Brian S. Kraszewski, Christopher Krysztofiak, Catharine Shoemaker, Steven Shriner, and Katharine Vary.

Erica Smith at the read-through. Photo by Jack Sossman.

What was your reaction to being chosen by Mobtown for a production?

I got Brent’s voicemail (telling me they’d picked it up for a full production) while I was at the grocery store. I remember standing by the oranges and giggling uncontrollably, and I felt like dancing. So… pretty excited.

What is Come Out and Say It about?

Come Out and Say It is the aftermath of a heist gone wrong. There are five people in the string – Vale (the planner), Chestnut (the muscle), Macy (the supplier), Anders (the alarm guy, among other things) and Pierre (the financier, as well as the organizer of the job). As the five of them try in their various ways to make sense of what went wrong, personalities clash and things get worse in a hurry.

Katharine Vary; Christopher Krysztofiak; Steven Shriner; and Kate Shoemaker. Photo by Shannon Light.

What was the read-through process with audience feedback like for you, and how did it influence your rewriting process?

The read through process was fascinating. It’s really helpful to hear the script read aloud, and to hear audiences react, or not react to it. The feedback, in some ways, was very helpful; it cemented mostly the things that *didn’t* work, which I definitely needed to be told. There was a certain moment I kept arguing for, which the audience and one or two cast members told me didn’t work, and finally they convinced me. Some of it was frustrating, of course, but it also taught me that I can’t please everybody.

What has it been like working with Brent? Did you attend rehearsals?

He’s wonderful to work with – and I went to all of the rehearsals for the read through. I went to two for the production; I wanted to keep my hands out of it as much as I could. The part where I get to change things is over. It’s been up to the cast and director and production crew. There’s a production crew! it’s like it’s a real play or something!  I trust them all.

Tell us about your other projects.

I’ve written several one-acts that have been performed at festivals around the area: Laurel Mill Playhouse, Greenbelt Arts Center, Vagabond, and Spotlighters. Two of them went to the MCTFA competition, and one went from there to the ESTA festival a few years ago, which was really exciting. This is the first play that’s going to stand by itself, so that in and of itself is pretty thrilling.

Come Out and Say It plays at The Mobtown Players – 3600 Clipper Mill Road, Suite 114, in Meadow Mill -in Baltimore, MD. For tickets, purchase them online.