In many ways, Hawboro is perfect.
Triad Stage Creative Director Preston Lane created it in 2010 as the setting for Providence Gap, an Appalachian Christmas folktale: a generic North Carolina town that, over time and four more plays, became an easy allegory for all North Carolina towns, each set against their own struggles with success, history, identity.
And like all North Carolina towns, Hawboro is not perfect.
“It’s becoming a place where all my writing is focusing,” Lane says now, in the lobby of Triad Stage a couple weeks before the world premiere of 2 Wolves and a Lamb, the latest in the Hawboro cycle.
In this one, a mayoral election threatens to tear the town apart along ideological seams. And like everything in Hawboro, Lane says, it dredges up essential questions.
“Do we live in a democracy?” Lane asks. “How do we elect people? Why do we elect people? And we wait for a scandal to happen.
“It’s Hawboro,” he continues, “so there’s a scandal around every corner.”
Most of the action in 2 Wolves takes place on the town square, grafted upon Triad Stage’s three-quarter thrust performance space. The play makes use of large video screens to advance the story — a practice Lane first employed in his interpretation of The Glass Menagerie many years ago, and which has been utilized throughout the Hawboro Cycle. There will be cameos by prominent Greensboro citizens throughout the run, Lane says, and the entire piece is interactive — the audience gets to vote at the end, which means Lane had to write two different endings.
And because conflict is Hawboro’s chief industry, Lane says the audience will be left with lots to discuss.
“In Hawboro,” he says, “the thing I’m doing is engage in a long-term conversation that’s about changing hearts and minds.