When Playwright Ken Ludwig began thinking about his next play "The Gods of Comedy" -- now playing at The Old Globe -- he wanted to add a touch of magic to the piece.
"It struck me," Ludwig said in a phone interview with NBC 7 San Diego. "Wouldn't it be fun to write a play where magical things happen at the snap of a finger?"
The playwright, a fan of classical literature and plays, came to realize something about modern plays: modern plays do not fully take advantage of all the magical and surreal things you can do on stage.
"One of the things that struck me again and again is how much the modern theater doesn't take advantage of the innate adventureness of live theater," Ludwig said.
The play, set on a Ivy League college campus, tells the story of two young classics professors on the verge of a momentous discovery - only to have something go wrong.
When a professor calls to the Greek Gods for help, the Gods appear.
Ludwig wanted to explore the reactions to a moment like that: calling out for the Gods of Ancient Greece, only to have them appear, miraculously.
"What if you had to tell somebody else about it?" Ludwig asked.
"Because I decided it would be the Gods of Comedy, in trying to make it better, they always make it worse," he added.
Writing the play became an opportunity for the playwright to explore what he calls the essence of comedy. The professors hear from the Ancient Greek Gods of comedy, giving Ludwig an opportunity to talk about comedy itself.
Audiences can expect to see a whole array of comedy: physical, romantic comedy, farce and verbal comedy, to name a few.
When audiences leave the show, Ludwig said, he hopes they come away with a real sense of optimism.
"I want them to feel that there's a place in your heart where comedy is stored and optimism is stored," Ludwig said. "We all have it, and sometimes we just don't turn to it."
"We get into a sense or despair that we cant get out of," Ludwig continued. "I want people to find that in their hearts because it makes you more tolerate, it makes you more loving, it means that you connect with other people."
To buy tickets to "The Gods of Comedy," click here. The play runs through June 16.