About Jeff Metcalf
JEFF METCALF is an award-winning teacher and writer who lives with his wife and two children in Salt Lake City, Utah. A professor of English at The University of Utah, Jeff has been the recipient of the 2008 University of Utah Outstanding Faculty Award, the John Huntsman Award for Excellence in Education, the National Council Teachers of English Outstanding Teacher Award, a Fullbright Memoral Scholar Award, a Writers at Work Lifetime Achievement Award, and many other awards. His fiction, essays, and plays have appeared in numerous local and national magazines. SLAC credits include: WHERE TO? CABBIES, COWBOYS, AND TREE OF THE WEEPING VIRGIN, HOMECOMING, and BETWEEN WORLDS. When he is not teaching or wirting, Metcalf’s free time is spent stalking mercurial trout on the West’s great fly fishing water.
About The Play
A SLIGHT DISCOMFORT is not the play I wanted to write. A play about prostate cancer? And yet, here it is… in the universe, on stage… open, revealing, at times, too personal and uncomfortable. It’s a tough way to get material for the stage, trust me.
I have kept journals for most of my adult life. During my journey into the world of prostate cancer, I made careful notes of my experiences. In part, the exercise kept me entertained. I could keep a distance of sorts. I’d write down snippets of conversations that struck me as humorous and made notes about the madness of trying to negotiate my way through the medical system. I was, to some degree, trying to transform the disease into a shape I could understand.
The process begged for something else. A stage. A forum. Try selling that idea:
“Okay, let me get this straight… you’re writing a play about cancer and it’s funny? It’ll never sell!!! And trust me… no theater in their right mind would even touch this project!!!”
Enter Salt Lake Acting Company. Need I say more?
What other theater company would bet on such a proposition? Without the support of SLAC, this experience would be no more than journal entries. Instead, we’ve discovered a play that carries an important message and has strong legs in the community. This might, in some way, be a new type of theater. A play that can be folded up easily and taken on the road. The message could save lives.
So, even in the darkest moments of my personal journey, there has been humor and light. Humor gave me the distance to write such a personal play and Salt Lake Acting Company gave me tremendous support and a stage. In today’s world this relationship between theater and playwright has become increasingly rare. To bank on the unknown and take risks on this unlikely proposition speaks volumes to the bravery of Salt Lake Acting Company. We owe them our gratitude and thanks.