Tuesday, March 11, 2014

A full night

Last night, we returned to our old new home in the TheatreWorks building on the UCCS campus. A whopping 21 people attended, which is the most we've had in over a year and a half.

We had a lot of plays as well, managing to squeeze in seven before we called it quits at 10pm. The writers included Marisa Hebert and Maria Yost, both of whom have read for us before but never brought their own writing. Their plays were very good, and I look forward to hearing more from them in the future.

Unfortunately, this was the first time we had to leave a play unread  (I told the playwright ahead of time that their play would be on the waiting list). As I've mentioned before, this is an issue we're going to have to address as we continue to grow. Once we get 9 or 10 plays per meeting, I'm going to talk to Drew Martorella about getting us a second room.

I know that some people don't like the idea of splitting the group, and I understand their concerns. But I think it's the only fair way to handle it. It will enable me to achieve my main goal, which is guaranteeing that every writer who wants to bring something will get their work read. Plus splitting the group will even out reading opportunities for the actors.

We started the evening with a punchy 2-minute play by Charlie Ammen titled Clean Slate. In it a bitter young coke addict decides to turn his life around after getting fired from his job at a head shop. The characters were very well-drawn, and the protaganist was (surprise!) likable despite his faults.

That was followed by the first scene from Maria Yost's full-length comedy Illusions to Ashes. The play takes place at a doomsday expo and the audience loved her quirky characters and the wacky dialogue between them.

Next up was a rewrite of a scene from Tim Phillip's teenage elationship drama Never Said. This tim ehe experimented with giving the protaganist Seth three spiritual guides: Eros, Loki and St. Augustine. People preferred to the earlier incarnations, with one person commenting that this keeps getting better and better with each rewrite.

We followed that with the first three scenes of Maria Hebert's gritty prison drama At the End of Me. The dialogue was often very raw, and the gradual revealing of who the two main characters seemed to suck everyone in.

After that, we read the next couple scenes from Grant Swenson's Toto-centered twist on The Wizard of Oz titled And Your Little Dog, Too. Here the well-loved characters begin their campaign against the Wicked Witch of the East, sneaking into her castle with the help of Brains, Heart and Courage. The comcial bickering between Brains and Coruage was especially well-done.

Next we read a short relationship drama from Jess Weaver titled Just a Game. She said it was inspired by one of Sue Bachman's short plays, but Jess took it in an entirely different direction as an dissatisfied wife introduces her husband to the man she's going out on a date with. This very unusual and awkward situation led to a lot of great gags.

We finished up with the last scene of my full-lentgh comedy Rumpelstilitskin, Private Eye. In this scene, Ugly Duckling takes the reins, solving the series of crimes right from under the crusty old detective. Beofre the reading, I told the group that I hate writing these scenes as there is so much exposition to get through, but the consensus was that I threw in enough humor to keep it light and deasily igestible.

Our next meeting is Monday, April 14. And please, get your taxes done early. We don't want to miss you!