Tuesday, July 14, 2015

A long night

Our attendance this summer hasn't been as big as last summer, when we were bursting at the seams, but it has held steady, with 14 people showing up for last night's meeting.

We got through six scripts in 2 hours and 45 minutes. The discussion went a little long on a couple of the plays and people seemed really tired by the end of the meeting. I'll try to rein things in a little better next time. 9:30 seems to be the point at which people (including me) stop functioning.

We opened with the beginning of my old-time radio farce The Last Radio Show. This section had a lot of setup as the various characters were introduced, but the audience loved the humor and breakneck pacing. The play should be a breeze to produce (the set and lighting requirements are minimal), so I'm planning to produce it and direct it myself at Black Box Theatre in January. Look for more info on this as we get closer to the performance date.

That was followed by the second half of August Mergelman's morality play, A Merry Interlude at Camelot, part of a series of youth plays exploring different theatrical traditions. Here Pierre is tricked by two of his customers and the clothier gets his revenge by playing a trick of his own. Everyone agreed that the play was a lot of fun.

After that we read the beginning of Deirdre Gilbert's Disciples of the Book, a funny look at a (mostly) woman's book club. The audience loved the richness of the characters and thought that the dialogue did a great job capturing the cattiness these groups often display. Deirdre originally wanted to include 12 characters as a metaphor for the Last Supper, but she now thinks she'll limit it to 8 in order to make it less unwieldy (more wieldy?).

We followed that with the conclusion of Chuck Cabell's dark comedy Hemlock. Here we see brothers Bryce and Neville hatch a scheme to get out from under the thumb of Fredo, the mobster who's calling the shots in their assisted suicide business, but the scheme falls apart when another mobster bumps off Fredo. For the most part, people felt unsatisfied that the brothers weren't victorious at the end and there were several suggestions for endings, but the audience got a kick out of discovering that Neville's airhead girlfriend Bunny turned is not such an airhead after all.

Next we read a rewrite of the end of Sue Bachman's family drama Torn. This included a moving scene in which a teenage alcoholic faces the mother of the boy he killed in a car accident. Sue did a great job depicting the raw-edged emotions of the characters, although some thought the mother should react more violently at first and others thought that a slight reordering of the actions (including a hug and a slap) would heighten the emotions further.

We wrapped everything up with three rewritten scenes from Tim Phillips' Prohibition-era romance Abigail Finds Love. In one scene, we see Clara confront Abigail about her scandalous liaisons with piano-playing Paul, with Clara claiming that Abigail could lose her ex-husband's fortune taken from her because of it. There was some discussion about whether this could happen, but people felt that the scenes keep getting better each time they're rewritten.

Our next meeting is Monday, August 10. See you then!

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