Tuesday, June 9, 2015

June is bustin' out all over

We just completed our wettest month ever in Colorado Springs, so it's been nice to enjoy some warm summer weather and see the trees bustin' out with leaves at last.

And our meeting was bustin' out with energy and enthusiasm. We had 13 attendees last night, with the welcome return of many of the actors we'd been missing in recent months. I got to tell you, this made casting a dream, and I was thrilled with the dynamic performance of my own play last night.

We opened with a new comedy from August Mergelman's burgeoning collection of short plays exploring different theatrical traditions. This one was A Merry Interlude at Camelot, a medieval cautionary tale about the travails of a henpecked husband. Going into the reading, August was especially concerned about the pacing and although some thought it was a little long, others pointed out that the farce-like dialogue would go a lot quicker when rehearsed.

Next up was the beginning of Grant Swenson's high school fable Four Seasonal Quests. In it, four heroes pursue four quests, each with a different type of ending: comic, tragic, heroic and ironic. The sassy interplay between hero Julian and the feisty heroine Ember, who demands the right to pursue her own quest, was particularly well-done. As for the character descriptions at the beginning, one commenter suggested that the emphasis should be on the different personalities of the characters, rather than their ages,

After that we read the end of Sue Bachman's one-act family drama, Having Faith. Here we learn that the elderly Evelyn's difficulties are due to the onset of Alzheimer's. The audience really liked how the story wrapped up, with an upbeat yet realistic resolution, and felt that the emotions, as always in Sue's writing, are admirably true-to-life.

Next we read several new scenes from Chuck Cabell's dark comedy, Hemlock. In these scenes, we saw the financial noose tightening around the neck of hapless heroes, Bryce and Neville, as they're forced to borrow money from a loan shark to keep their death-oriented business going. Everybody loved the humor, and more than one person commented on the delicious irony in the fact that while the brothers are helping kill off others, they refuse to honor their own mother's request for a physician-assisted suicide.

We finished up with the ending of my cocktail party farce Butterfly Effect. All of the plot threads led to a final, shocking twist as one of the characters died a violent death and another character turned out to have plotted the whole thing. Before the reading, I was afraid that the ending might be too dark or that people would hate it because they're left with no one to root for. The consensus was that yes, it was dark, but the farcical elements were so over-the-top and the characters so nasty that it worked.

One side note. Longtime member Jeff Schmoyer brought one of the print-on-demand books he designed for local novelist Bob Spiller. It looked very professional, and I'll be talking to Jeff to see what he can do for my own novels, which I recently made available through Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing. If you've got a manuscript that's been sitting around, I strongly recommend that you talk to Jeff to see what he can do for you.

For more info, check out Jeff's website at

See you all next month! Have a great Fourth of July!