Tuesday, January 20, 2015


Due to the nasty weather last Monday, we postponed our January meeting to last night. I was worried we couldn't get many people, partly due to the change in date and partly due to the fact that a couple of our regular writers, Sue Bachman and Jess Weaver, had other, theatre-related gigs. But we actually had a healthy turnout, with 11 people attending. This included one new actor--Howard Kirstel--and one old friend--Bob Spiller, a successful novelist who was a regular attendee a couple of years ago. We look forward to both of them becoming more involved.

UCCS did not have class yesterday because of the MLK holiday, so we were free to meet in our favorite room--Room 132, the big, wide one  near the building's entrance. I don't know if it was the room or the people who came, but the meeting was unusually animated, with lots of laughs and a very lively atmosphere.

We opened with the beginning of Chuck Cabell's full-length fable, Jurgen the Pawnbroker. Chuck explained that this is an adaptation of a novel published in the 1920's by his distant cousin James Branch Cabell. a highly respected novelist at that time. The story is about a pawnbroker/poet who loses both his wife and his livelihood on the same terrible Wednesday and goes on a quest to regain both. In the scenes we read last night, the hapless Jurgen meets a helpful centaur and a mischievous satyr. Everyone loved the rich language and clever wit, and many people commented that they can't wait to hear more.

After that we read a 10-minute comedy, Banana Split & Fruit Fly. which Tim wrote for 24SEVEN. He brought it last night because he was wondering if it was worth rewriting so that he could submit it to contests. The play is about a pair of goofy superheroes who are unable to fight crime because their capes are in the wash. The audience agree that it did not need rewriting, although some suggested that the chattier parts could be trimmed and that the copyrighted  lyrics would need to be rmoved entirely.

Next up was Something, a 3-minute play that Tim Phillips wrote for the FAC's Georgia O'Keeffe contest. In it, two art critics argue about the sexual and feminist subtext in one of O'Keeffe's paintings, while the artist herself insists she meant nothing of the kind. Everyone agreed that the play had a lot of promise. The debate was an interesting one, getting to the heart of what art is, and the dialogue was quite funny. It was felt, however, that the play should be expanded to 10 minutes for maximum impact.

We wrapped up with the finale of my museum farce, I Want My Mummy. Here the robbers finally got their comeuppance, while Melvin the cowardly security guard not only proves his worth but wins the girl: Penny, the pushy reporter, who played the most important role in capturing the robbers. There were a lot of questions about motivations and set-ups, but I think I was able to show that everything fit together in the end. There were also a lot of suggestions for punching up the gags, and I'll be using many of these in the final draft.

If the weather allows, we'll be meeting next month at our regular time on the second Monday, which is February 9. However, it has become clear to me that more and more people are having to drop out due to conflicts on Monday. Therefore, I'll be sending out an email soon asking people if another day would work better. Look for that in your inbox soon!

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