Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Stormy weather

Well, we only had seven people show up for a meeting last night, the second lowest number since our second meeting three years ago. But then people had a good excuse. The first winter storm of the season hit late in the afternoon, plunging the temperatures into the mid-teens and turning the roads into skating rinks. Still, we soldiered on, and the die-hards who did show up were able to get through six plays.

We started with Chuck Cabell's 10-minute comedy, A Priest, A Rabbi and a Horse... I missed most of this because I was tied up in traffic, but everyone seemed to love the humor.

Next up was the beginning of Sue Bachman's family drama, Having Faith, with Sue again finding inspirations in the travails of her childhood. In it, a young woman tries to help an old woman banished to her dark, drafty apartment by her adult daughter. Everyone enjoyed the dramatic tension but wondered whether the daughter was too unlikable.

After that, we read the beginning of Tim Phillip's religion drama, Christian Death. It's about a fundamentalist pastor forced to confront his past when his wife and former followers turn on him. It's a great concept, but people thought Tim should up the stakes, making the pastor a child molester or something instead of just a distant, judgmental clergyman. I also thought the pastor shouldn't be so passive when his accusers first confront him.

Next we read the first scene of my drama Final Edition. This was a script that I started years ago as my eulogy for the newspaper industry, but subsequently abandoned. People liked the punchy dialogue, although people thought that the interplay between the editor and the crusty crime beat reporter should have been more smart assy.

We followed that with the start of Jess' Weaver's drama, which for now remains titleless. Jess intends to submit it to next year's Rough Writer's contest at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, which is asking for plays related to Georgia O'Keeffe. Jess has never liked O'Keeffe's flower paintings so she decided to write a harrowing tale of kidnapping and drugs inspired by the artist's paintings of skulls and desolate desert landscapes instead. The audience loved the tension and theatricality of the piece (at one point, an hallucination of a giant jackalope makes an appearance) and we all look forward to seeing the rest of the play.

We wrapped up, appropriately enough, with the finale of Chuck Cabell's full-length comedy Diabolus Ex Machina. People loved the irony of the ending, in which the fictional playboy character accepts the novelist's original vision of him as a kindly Alpine woodsman (a la Heidi's grandfather) only to have Heidi rebel against her role. I thought, however, that it wasn't a strong choice to have the characters spend the entire play inside the computer. They should come to life outside the computer so that they can mess up the novelist's life in a visual way.

Our next meeting is Monday, December 8. See you all then!

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