Kurt Sutter was ready to rebound in the wake of his exit from Sons of Anarchy spinoff Mayans M.C. with a brand new show. However, the coronavirus pandemic and other inhibiting factors, Sutter’s planned project was shot down by outlets. Last week, Sutter revealed the name and details of that project, an anthology series entitled Play.
“I pitched this anthology… literally the week Covid shut down the industry in 2020,” Sutter wrote on Instagram. “I went out with the concept and the pilot script to season one. Beyond the pandemic, there were many factors why it didn’t sell… It was fun throwing up some lyrics in the last post, so I thought I’d share the series concept and one of the songs from the pilot. #punkrock #foreverinadrawer #marciamarciamarcia.”
Sutter then attached the pitch details for the show as a whole and specifically Season 1, based in 1972 and subtitled Loud. The overall premise combines American music with William Shakespeare. Sutter using Shakespeare as inspiration is not an odd concept to Sons of Anarchy fans since the FX biker drama was loosely based on Hamlet. “Each standalone season will use the archetypes of William Shakespeare to explore a time and place in American History defined by its music,” Sutter wrote. “We borrow character, relationships, narrative structure from a play in the Bard’s tome and set it inside a rich world, during era-defining years, deeply immersed in an iconic music genre.
“It might be The Tempest, Chicago 1920’s, when ragtime was exploding in the speakeasies. Or Richard III, Memphis, 1950’s, when the world witnessed the birth of Rock & Roll. Using real and fictional characters, perhaps played by returning actors in repertoire, we tell a unique story shaped by the day’s most influential artists and songs.”
The Mayans M.C. co-creator then goes on to detail the setting of the Play: Loud, which would be based on Romeo and Juliet. “The Lower East Side of New York City. Like the rest of the country, New York has slid into fiscal crisis,” he wrote. “The civil rights victories of the sixties have been overshadowed by the harsh economic realities of the early seventies. Inner-city neighbors are hammered by rising unemployment, escalating drug addiction and a spike in violent crime. Turning up the heat on racial tension already gripping the city.
“But on the B-side of this bad song is an equally upbeat groove. new York is in the midst of an artistic explosion. Boundaries being smashed in art, film and especially — music. Underground clubs are popping up all over the city, bracing ears with the ever-morphing sounds of Rock, Glam, Soul, Blues, Jazz — and a loud, primal, aggressive, garage-rock expression that within a year or so will become its own sub-genre, known as — Punk Rock.”
As hinted at in that last sentence, Sutter would center Season 1 around punk rock. “Punk will be the genre we explore. But a wide spectrum of sound will guide the show like a playful, omniscient voice,” he wrote. “Narrative will float on a constant stream of rhythm and melody. Music will be incorporated into every scene. Organic percussion, environmental beats, needle-drops and original compositions. The execution, subtle… the impact, potent.”
No word on which outlets passed on the project, but it seems Sutter is holding on to it for a rainy day. He’s instead moving into the world of film for This Beast, an upcoming Netflix drama he will write, direct and produce.