Eternal Life, Part 1

By Nathan Alan Davis
Originally produced at The Wilma Theater, Philadelphia, PA
April 11-30, 2023

Synopsis: This new play, set in the near future, centers on an idealistic family … and the goose that just came with the house. An American family meets the future: space travel, talking animals, a state-of-the-art home, while attempting to answer the same big question: how to live a meaningful life. Playwright Nathan Alan Davis is a virtuosic writer, with three premieres across the country this season. Eternal Life, Part 1 is directed by Lead Artistic Director Morgan Green, who helmed the virtual production of James Ijames’ Pulitzer Prize-winning play Fat Ham, and features the Wilma’s HotHouse Acting Company. This modern fable is also filled with humor and whimsy. “There are talking snowflakes, a goose, and more, but Davis uses these playful elements to dig into big questions,” Green said.

Artistic Statement: Eternal Life Part 1 is a modern-day fable that invites the audience into reflective consideration of our own lives and the principles we choose to live them by. How do we relate to our home? Do we garden and improve, and in this case, care for the local talking goose? Or do we set out to colonize Mars, the next frontier? I’d like to frame the play like an adult comic book, in a soft and brilliant science fiction light. I want to offer these stories as poetic questions for the audience to use as a tool for reflection. A longer rehearsal period allows for experimentation in creation. It allows for my work to step beyond simply staging the text, and creates space for discovering the most innovative and expansive way to tell the story.

Grant Statement: At the Wilma, we are known for making bold, contemporary, experimental theater in the heart of Philadelphia. In 2021, the Wilma defined its organizational values through conversations with the Wilma staff, board, and members of the HotHouse, our resident company.  These values are curiosity, courage, care, rigor, joy, collaboration and liberation.  As we strive to live by these values, one of our goals is to extend our creative processes, which includes giving more development time to projects, especially to new works. The HotHouse  and its artists value deeper artistic relationships than those that typically fit in the non-profit theater budget; playwrights and directors frequently workshop with the HotHouse as they refine a project before a rehearsal project even begins.  This New Play Award from the Edgerton Foundation enables us to devote the time, energy, and creativity that developing new work demands. 

Playwright Nathan Alan Davis
Director Morgan Green
Stage Manager Patreshettarlini Adams

Lindsay Smiling
Sarah Gliko
Steven Rishard
Jennifer Kidwell
Brandon J. Pierce

Additional Funders: Eternal Life, Part 1 and Nathan Alan Davis are recipients of a Venturous Playwright Fellowship at the Playwrights’ Center, which is supported by Venturous Theater Fund.