Thursday, October 16, 2014

Drama Lab on Stage

Drama Labbers are busy busy busy this month. Here's a list of local productions featuring your fellow members as writers, directors or actors:

Hamlet / Rosenkrantz and Guildenstern are Dead
This weekend is your last chance to catch these two plays in repertory. Both productions feature Karann Goettsch, Buck Buchanan and, in his acting debut, Tim Phillips. Hamlet is Friday, R&G is Saturday. Black Box Theatre.

Features Jess Weaver as Mina. This opened last weekend and runs Thursdays to Sundays though Nov 2. Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center.

Our Shorts are Showing 2
A HUGE Drama Lab effort. Includes short plays written by Sue Bachman, Charlie Ammen, Jess Weaver and me. Directors include Sallie Walker and Tracy Hunziker. Actors include Karann Goettsch, Barbara Summerville, Ashley Crockett, Sue Bachman, Grant Swenson and Roy Kieffer. Wed, Oct 22 through Sat, Oct 25. Black Box Theatre.

Million Dollar Meatballs
The world premiere of my latest farce. Thu, Oct 23 through Sat, Oct 25. Discovery Canyon High School.

Oh, and be sure to listen to the KCME Culture Zone on 88.7 FM at 5pm on Sunday, Oct 19 and 7pm on Monday, Oct 20 to hear director Amy Keating, two student actors and myself discuss Million Dollar Meatballs.

Finally, I'd like to send out a big congratulations to the multi-talented Sue Bachman, who has just won the PPAC Award for Outstanding Performance by an Actress for her role as Linda Loman in TheatreWorks' production of Death of a Salesman. Great job, Sue!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The write stuff

Last night, we had an unusually subdued meeting, largely due to one of our smaller turnouts in recent months (15 attendees) and, I suspect, getting used to our new meeting room. All of the other classrooms were in use, so we ended up taking Room 165 at the back of the building. The layout of the room was longer and skinnier than we're used to, making it a little harder to hear from the back, but it was set apart from the rest of the rooms so it was pretty quiet. I'll check with Drew to see if we can get that room reserved for us from now on.

We got through eight plays, which we would not have been able to do without the new critique forms that I created with input from the writers. It worked pretty well, I think, but I'm sure we'll make tweaks as we get more practice with it.

Not that we did away with all discusssion. We had about 5 minutes to discuss each play, but with eight plays even that added up to a big chunk of time, and we didn't get done until 9:45. If we start getting even more scripts, we may have to do away with the discussion entirely.

We opened with a 10-minute play from Grant Swenson titled Distant Memory, which cenetred around a group of nursing home residents. The audience found it moving, especially the way one of the characters pretended to be a child in order to help another regain her youthful memories.

Next up was a rewrite of Sallie Walker's short play, John & Marsha. Here we eavesdrop on a guy attempting to pick up a girl in a bar, represented by a pair of actors portraying their outer, polished selves and a pair of actors representation their inner, snarky selves. People found it inventive and fun. Buck and Karann did a great job with the

After that we read the end of Tim Phillips' Prohibition-era romantic drama Notes from the Heart. Everyone liked the upbeat ending as Paul and Abigail head off into the sunset together but thought there should be some sort of twist at the climax.

We then read a rewrite of the end of Sue's one-act drama Best Friends Forever. Here Sue took last month's comments to heart, changing it so that the two elderly friends never do recognize each other. Several people took issue with this, thinking that the characters should perhaps fashion a new friendship at the end, recognizing something in the other that subconsciously reminds them of their long-ago youth.

We followed that with two new scenes from my museum farce, I Want My Mummy. People thought it was funny but said it was hard to follow the plot threads when a play this long is broken up over several meetings.

Next we read some new pages from Chuck Cabell's full-length comedy Diabolus Ex Machina. Everyone liked the flamboyant personality of the author character's fictional alter ego Sebastian. Some of the monologues came across as a little long, however.

After that we read a rewrite of Sallie's short play Three Men and a Cross, an ironic, almost snide, reenactment of Jesus' last moments on the cross. Everyone agreed this was a great concept, and felt that the commentary by the cyncial their was particularly well-done.

We finished up with Tim Phillips's short comedy Night Time with Baby Bear, about a child's beloved teddy bear fighting off a terrible monster under the bed. This one was a lot of fun, and everyone enjoyed Buck's comic, child-like portrayal of the bear.

Our next meeting is Monday, November 10 at 7pm. See you all then!