Scott has this week's Stuff We Like - about a place you will find him many weekday nights.
My husband Mark and I live in Sacramento, the Capitol of California, and thought by many to still be a bit of a cow town.
When we moved here back in 2003, it kind of was. But we were part of an influx of residents from the liberal, cultured San Francisco Bay Area. The wave of immigration brought a hunger for great cuisine and good local theatre.
We started exploring, and over the years we've come to realize that Sacramento is a hotbed of not just good but great local playhouses. Two in particular stand out.
Case in point - at the B Street Theatre (founded by Buck and Timothy Busbee - you may remember Timothy from the West Wing), we just saw a fantastic play called "Love and Baseball" - and although I'm not a big fan of baseball, I do rather like love, and the story and acting were amazing. As a writer, I love breaking down the structure of other writers' work, and this one was a classic - three parts told a couple years apart, comprising the beginning, stumbles, and eventual resolution of a relationship between two people.
It was an amazing show, as much for the great acting as for the crackling script.
And another - at Capital Stage, we saw a simply amazing play called "Blackberry Winter" - essentially a monologue about a woman dealing with her mother's Alzheimers prognosis and care. You would thing this would be a terribly depressing play, and yeah, there were parts that seriously pulled at the heart strings. But it was also at times moving, hilariously funny, and transcendently beautiful. The writer chose to include a fable about Alzheimers that was beautifully illustrated on the screen behind the stage, and that carried the story to a new level. Sorry - my writer brain is getting carried away again.
As a writer, you can learn a lot from the way playwrights tell their stories. I'll bet you have some local playhouses close to where you live. I won't lie - these places, even the best ones - can be hit and miss. We've walked out of a few plays that were either just awful or that had nothing to say to us. But For every one of those, there are two or three good ones, and every now ad then, one transcendent play that will change you in ways you may not initially comprehend.
And there's just something about being in a live theatre that can be electrifying.
Give them a try. You won't be disappointed. At least, not too often.