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Former Roanoke city manager Chris Morrill sends this photo of curtain call for JOY TO OTHER WORLDS, my one-act that was in the Paragaon science fiction festival by Otherworld Theatre in Chicago on Nov. 12, 2017.
The troupe Play With Your Food produced my ten-minute piece THE BEAUTIFUL OGRE AND OTHER FAIRY TALES in Mankato, Minnesota in May 2017.
The troupe Play With Your Food produced my five-minute piece DAMSEL NOT IN DISTRESS in Mankato, Minnesota on Nov. 1, 2017. The script runs about five minutes, although this video runs longer.
Check out these amazing audition posters for my upcoming show in Australia: THIS ROSE HAS THORNS will be produced at Deakin University in Melbourne by the Burwood Student Theatre Company. Melanie Thoren did the artwork, Julia Allan made the poster. They’re amazing and awesome. The show will be in April 2018. I’ve had seven full-length scripts produced in the United States but this will be my first international production of a full-length script.
I am one of three finalists in an annual competition run by a major theatre in Orlando. My full-length script MISS MITCHELL’S COMET will have a staged reading sometime in December; based on the feedback there, one of those three plays will then get a full production in April 2018 by the Playwrights’ Round Table at the Orlando Shakespeare Center. Sharp-eyed fans will notice that April 2018 is also when I have another full-length play making an international debut in Melbourne, Australia. MISS MITCHELL’S COMET is based on the true story of Maria Mitchell, America’s first female astronomer — and the first American of any gender to discover a comet. Her discovery in the 1840s sparked an international controversy. At the time, there was a competition sponsored by the King of Denmark that would give a prize to the first astronomer to discover a comet with a telescope — as opposed to the naked eye. All the big observatories of Europe were keen to claim the honor. No one envisioned that instead it would be an American — and not just any American, but an amateur at that who wasn’t affiliated with any observatory. And a woman! This was news that some in Europe simply could not believe.
The 29-year-old Mitchell was the daughter of a Nantucket Island merchant who grew up in a sailing and whaling community where keeping an eye on the stars was part of business. In time, the unknown Mitchell was awarded the prize . . . and went on to become a major figure in American astronomy and the women’s rights movement. This play is set many years later, when she’s in her 50s and 60s and is teaching at Vassar College. I am indebted to Todd William Ristau of Hollins University. Some years ago, he gave me advice on how to write a one-person script. At the time, I had two sprawling, multi-character scripts about science figures. I took RED MOON RISING IN THE EAST, about the father of the Soviet space program, and re-wrote it into a one-man play. It’s gone on to become my most-frequently produced full-length script — produced in Virginia, Wisconsin and Minnesota (and might be produced again in May 2018, awaiting details). I took MISS MITCHELL’S COMET and re-wrote it as a two-person script, although the Mitchell character has 95 percent of the lines, so I think of it as a one-woman play with some incidental parts for a man. It’s come close several things before in other competitions, but now will at least get a stage reading an a 1-in-3 chance of a full production.
My short script PUTTING THE FAIR IN THE TOOTH FAIRY is in the annual Cone Man Running Festival at the Beacon Theatre in Houston. Here’s what it looks like.
PUTTING THE FAIR IN TOOTH FAIRY
A child who has just lost a tooth confronts the tooth fairy with a baseball bat — and finds the tooth fairy is a large, hairy man. The child wonders why he hasn’t gotten as much money for his teeth as other kids have. Cast: Three — 1 male, 1 female, 1 child. Running time: Five minutes.
* Staged reading at No Shame Theatre at Mill Mountain Theatre, Roanoke, Va. , November 2005.
* Staged reading at Attic Productions New Year’s Eve Party, Fincastle, Va., December 2005.
* Staged reading at The Best of No Shame Theatre at Mill Mountain Theatre, Roanoke, Va., March 2006.
* Produced by North Park Vaudeville and Candy Shoppe, San Diego, California, October 2006.
* Performed at Kevin Jones Performing Arts Studio summer acting camp showcase, Roanoke, Va. July 14, 2007.
I’ve had seven full-length scripts produced in the United States. And I’ve had many shorter scripts produced around the world — Australia, Canada, Great Britain, India, Ireland, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea. But I’ve never had a full-length script produced outside the United States. Until now. Or, more accurately, April 2018. That’s when the Burwood Student Theatre Company of Deakin University of Melbourne, Australia will produced THIS ROSE HAS THORNS — which, incidentally, will be the world premiere of that particular script.
I’m still waiting the exact production dates, but the show is a go. It will be directed by John Jennings, who is also the artistic director of Pop Culture Theatre, the Melbourne theatre that has produced two of my one-acts in the annual Victorian Drama League competition — THE ONE-WORD MACBETH in 2015 and THE RULES ARE THE RULES ARE THE RULES in 2017. (Video of the former show here. Photos from the latter here.)
John has some great ideas for the show — which he calls a “comedic masterpiece.” He says of this show: “Think Shakespeare meets The Play The Goes Wrong meets Black Adder meets Game of Thrones!”
THIS ROSE HAS THORNS
A parody of some common Shakespeare themes, with good stage combat roles for women and girls. The daughters of a lord receive letters from their boyfriends, informing them that they have been imprisoned in the Tower of London and expect to be executed. The two girls do what seems only natural to them; they dress up as men and set off to London to rescue them – not realizing that the boyfriends intended these as break-up letters. Comedy ensues. Cast: 13 – 7 females, 6 males.