The darker side of DIY

Playwright Josh McIlvain has been writing, producing and acting in indie theater his entire adult life, and he has the scars, both mental and physical, to prove it. His latest, “Carter’s Play,” is a comic meditation on the darker side of life on the fringe.

“There’s a certain romance with low-budget art-making. People think that it all comes from a good place. I’m not saying it can’t, but the world of low-stakes art — not much money, not much fame — is just as sleazy as high-stakes art,” says McIlvain, from the Live Arts Festival offices in Northern Liberties, where he is the editor of the Live Arts/Philly Fringe guide. “Oftentimes you’re working with your friends, or your lover, and you really have to ask yourself what you’re asking of them and what you’re doing it for.”

The structure here is a play within a play, as an indie playwright (played, fittingly, by McIlvain himself) rehearses his latest confessional masterpiece, while at the same time desperately trying to keep the cast from jumping ship and wooing his leading lady.

“I’m fascinated by how we reimagine our past, and how much we fictionalize our stories,” says McIlvain. “How does fictionalizing your past relationships — whether you’re a playwright or not — affect your current relationships?”

If you go

“Carter’s Play” is being presented by Smokey Scout Productions, a small theater company founded by Josh McIlvain and Deborah Crocker. The husband-and-wife team moved to Philadelphia in 2010 and have produced two Philly Fringe offerings.

‘Carter’s Play’

Through May 19

$15-$20, The White Space at Crane Old School

1417 N. Second St.

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