The Bills win the Super Bowl!
(Thanks to Donna Hoke)
This year, the Buffalo Bills will win the Super Bowl—so to speak. In Once in My Lifetime: A Buffalo Football Fantasy, award-winning playwright (and Spree contributing editor/HOME editor) Donna Hoke presents a new play that imagines what a Bills Super Bowl victory might look like, for the team, its fans, and its city.
The idea for the show, which runs from August 28 through September 8 at Shea’s Smith Theatre, came from producer Chris Braun. He commissioned Hoke to write the play, and as the ensemble playwright at Road Less Traveled Productions explains here, it was a perfect match.
There are some strong dramatic possibilities from the idea of a Bills win. How did the show develop?
Chris had started writing the play himself before he decided to look for a playwright to do the project. He liked the idea of a play set in a bar run by a widow whose husband’s death was somehow Bills-related, and suggested the bar might have a portrait of that man. I worked with the portrait idea, but the widow’s journey is much more important than her husband’s death.
But beyond that, the Bills winning a Super Bowl isn’t really something a play can be about, right? That’s an event, not a plot; their winning has to mean something to the characters who inhabit Miracle Bar, and that’s where I put my focus. The denizens of Miracle are all stuck in some way—just like the Bills—and a Super Bowl win could change things for them.
This is such a “Buffalo” idea. Did it help to be a Buffalo playwright?
Absolutely it helped. I grew up in a Bills family; I get the devotion and the desire. But this play isn’t just a love letter to Buffalo Bills fans, it’s a love letter to Buffalonians. There is enough football to satisfy Bills fans, sure, but there’s also enough story to satisfy theatergoers, and enough Buffalo to satisfy Queen City diehards.
Will this be a hard watch for Bills fans? A cathartic one? Or one that fills the audience with hope?
I hope it will be a super fun watch! By doing it in the Smith Theatre, where patrons can bring in their drinks and where Chris plans to have “tailgating” going on preshow, the hope is that audience members kind of become patrons of Miracle, too. We even have eight VIP seats a night for patrons who want to sit on stage, in the bar, and be part of the action. And there will be a Buffalo cameo guest spot each night, as well. People who came to the reading said it did feel exciting and cathartic, but they also got wrapped up in the story. We’re so excited to share it with more people.
Get info and tickets HERE.