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The City Journals

‘Leave It in Writing’ Debuts at Draper Historic Theatre

May 05, 2016 12:56PM ● By Kelly Cannon

By Kelly Cannon | [email protected]

Draper - At just 18 years old, Tanner Tate has written and directed his first play. “Leave It in Writing” premiered April 9 at the Draper Historic Theatre. The play focuses on Tucker, the oldest brother in the family, as he writes a memoir about the events of the past year. 

Tate, a freshman at Utah Valley University, said he thought up the story during a long road trip to Lake Powell with his family. 

“It’s was just my brain-child,” Tate said. “I didn’t really think it up from anywhere.”

The play tells the story of a family whose parents fight more and more. Tucker ignores it as best he can. The mother, Natalie, eventually abandons the family, claiming to be lousy mother and that the family is better off without her. Soon after, the rest of the family falls apart as well. Tucker’s sister, Anna, has a devastating break-up and moves away to New York. His brother, Sammy, falls in with a bad crowd and is hardly ever seen at home. The father, Daniel, spends all his time working, trying to keep the family together. The family eventually comes back together after learning their own individual lessons, with the exception of the mother. She eventually reads about her family when Tucker’s memoir is later published. 

According to Tate, the play started as a 10-minute production and then grew into a 30-minute production. It eventually became an hour-long play. He shopped the play to various arts councils trying to get it produced. However, because of his young age and the fact he’s only in college, Tate had a difficult time getting any theaters interested. He eventually made a connection at the Draper Historic Theatre, who approved his production. 

Tate cast the play using only high school students. 

“I like working with high school kids,” Tate said. “Plus, I was afraid if I cast people older than me, they wouldn’t respect me.”

Tate said the most difficult part of the 18 months it took to write and produce the play was believing in the project enough.

“When you stare at your work for 18 months, you have to believe people are going to enjoy it,” Tate said. 

While this was his first time directing a play, Tate said he really enjoyed it.

“I’ve always been the type to take charge and it was wonderful to put that to use,” Tate said.

Eighteen-year-old Lucas Castro from Draper played the main character of Tucker. He found out about the auditions from a tweet sent out by his friend and he decided to try out.

Castro described Tucker as being very similar to himself, someone who keeps to himself and while he loves his family, they still can drive him crazy.

“When I was reading the script, I noticed a lot of similarities I could relate to,” Castro said. “He’s just trying to work with his wild family.”

While Castro has been a part of theater productions before, this was his first time as a lead role. Castro said he found it challenging because there were not only a lot of lines to memorize, but the role also required an emotional commitment.

“I focused on keeping it real and authentic and not cheesy,” Castro said.

He loved working with his fellow castmates throughout the production. 

“We all worked hard and I’m really happy,” he said.