Tuesday, March 15, 2016


We had an infusion of new blood last night as three new actors and one new writer came to our meeting. Two of the actors, Alaina and Sam, were in my production of The Last Radio Show and I was thrilled they were there as they're both wonderful actors.

The third new actor, Marguerite, came on the recommendations of Mark and Lauren Arnest, two talented playwrights who've attended our meetings in the past. Marguerite is interested in playwriting but hasn't started anything yet. For now, she's just happy to hear the other plays and read when she can.

The new writer was Damon Smithwick, a published novelist who has been coming to our meetings off and on for several years. Fortunately, I was able to talk him into bringing his first play last night, and it was a lot of fun. But more on that later.

Overall, we had twelve people show, which was respectable, but I'd like to get more actors involved. We also had some of our liveliest discussions in months. It really helps to have only a few plays to discuss and a lot of actors to discuss them.

We opened with some new scenes from Tim Phillips' relationship comedy Seth and Tracy. In one scene, one woman dishes to another about her experience dating the protagonist, a self-centered jerk named Sharky who spends most of his time writing in bars. In another scene, an ex-friend of Sharky rants about the way he was treated by him. The audience thought that the dialogue was mostly realistic, but thought that the women were so competitive they sounded more like guys.

After that, we read Damon's short comedy, This Universe Ain't Big Enough for the Both of Us. It's about a physics professor who plans to murder his colleague after he learns the other guy has been sleeping with his wife. Some thought that their discussions about quantum consciousness and parallel universes should be dumbed down for the audience while others thought it worked perfectly. There was also some disagreement whether the protagonist should reveal his plan right away or save it for the end. The play ended with an ambiguous twist that everyone seemed to like.

We finished up with four scenes from my Frank Capra-inspired satire, Trouble in Paradise Junction. Here we saw the town being to fall apart as the reality show that's being filmed there has its insidious effect on the citizens. Although it is intentionally not as funny s my farces, most thought it was funny enough. There was a lot of discussion over a scene in which a family of tourists make fun of the townsfolk and whether this should be toned down. It was also pointed out that the characters are starting to sound too much alike.

Our next meeting is Monday, April 11. See you then!

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