Tuesday, April 12, 2016

New talent

We continue to get lots of new talent in our group. Last night was no exception. We had fourteen people show up, including two new actors, Ira and Joan, and one new writer, Sienna Swenson, who at the age of eight happens to be the youngest writer we've ever had. And we got through five scripts, which is more than we've had in a while, but since the discussions were kept short, we got out by 8:45pm.

We opened with a rewrite of Tim Phillips' Celtic warrior drama, Boudica and the Galatian. In it, Queen Boudica is pressured to poison herself by an ally after their revolt against the occupying Romans fails. The audience felt it could be trimmed quite a bot and that some of the language was anachronistic but overall thought that the story was very powerful.

After that, we read the last three chapters of my large-cast comedy Trouble in Paradise Junction. Here we see Joe desperately trying to prevent the town from being humiliated on national TV, only to have teenage Wilbur save the day instead when he inspires the townsfolk to turn down the riches offered them by the network. There were a couple of places where audience members were confused by the action and some thought the play might be too "cinematic" to be produced easily.

We followed that with the first two scenes from Sienna's action comedy Secret Island. The story is about a group of schoolkids who visit an island on a field trip and discover a fascinating puzzle made out of rocks. Everyone agreed that the play is a lot of fun and that it did a great job of working math into the storyline--something that schools are always looking for.

Next up was a Grant Swenson's short comedy Hoarders. Here an elderly man invites one of those hoarder shows into his home, only to reveal that his wife is hoarding stocks instead of junk. In the end, the husband, with the help of the show's production assistant, convinces his wife to sell some of their stock and start enjoying life. People liked that each of the three characters show a distinct arc and felt that the dialogue was charming without being trite.

We finished up with Trade Secrets, the latest entry in August Mergelman's series of short plays exploring different theatrical traditions. This one is a burlesque take on the stories of Three Billy Goats Gruff and Little Red Riding Hood. The protagonist is Drip, a "top banana" who likes to hit on attractive women from his perch on a park bench. The audience thought it was very funny and did a great job capturing the flavor of that era's humor.

See you at our next meeting on Monday, May 9!

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