Posts Tagged full-length Christmas play

Photos from “On The Thirteenth Day of Christmas” in New Jersey

My full-length script ON THE THIRTEENTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS opened December 4 at First Avenue Playhouse in Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey. Director Dave McGrath shares these wonderful photos.

Someone sends a young woman every gift in the Twelve Days of Christmas. Now it's the thirteenth day and what happens? She gets evicted from her apartment, of course.

Someone sends a young woman every gift in the Twelve Days of Christmas. Now it’s the thirteenth day and what happens? She gets evicted from her apartment, of course.

Look at all that stuff out there. Oh, that's one of the maids a-milking who has come inside.

Look at all that stuff out there. Oh, that’s one of the maids a-milking who has come inside.

A close-up of the maid a-milking.

A close-up of the maid a-milking.

Great. Just great. An unhappy neighbor who can't sleep because of all the racket. Could it get any worse?

Great. Just great. An unhappy neighbor who can’t sleep because of all the racket. Could it get any worse?

Why yes, yes, it could. Television reporters show up.

Why yes, yes, it could. Television reporters show up.

Cee Cee and Dee Dee show up for a front-row seat for all the action.

Cee Cee and Dee Dee show up for a front-row seat for all the action.

You can find even more photos here — and more info below:

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“Klaus” called “a dark and dizzying journey”

“A dark and dizzying journey.”

That’s how producer Rose Bonczek — who teaches at Brooklyn College — describes KLAUS, my full-length Christmas play that had a staged reading in New York on December 2, under the direction of Christopher Thomasson.

She further tells me via e-mail: “I wanted to let you know that last night’s reading was terrific – Christopher put together a brilliant cast, mostly Gi60 company members, but several colleagues who he knows from Santaland (perfect!). Jay Nickerson as Klaus, and Jonathan Hadley as the headmaster were particularly brilliant – though Helen Huff as Mary was a delight, and the three young men were balanced wonderfully, with sharp and distinct characters. The fellow who played Grinchley should simply be guaranteed that role for life.”

Here’s a link to the poster.

And here’s the synopsis:

KLAUS: How it all began
Where did Santa Claus come from? There is no particular origin myth, until now. This story begins in the 1740s with an eccentric German professor of what we now call physics. He invents time travel, and when he becomes the target of the wrath of a mob who wants to burn him as a witch, he uses it to escape. Involves science fiction, treason against the king, a love story, and some cooking. Cast: Seven – six male, one female.

This was the second staged reading for the script; the first was in Roanoke in December 2012. Here’s a set of links to photos and such from that reading.

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Video: Staged reading of “Klaus” by Hollins Playwright’s Lab

“Klaus” is my Christmas play about the origin of Santa Claus. There’s no standard myth on where the Jolly Old Elf came from, so I invented one. In my telling, his origin dates to Great Britain in the 1740s, at a time of political unrest. The German-born Hanoverian kings (George II, in this case) were on the throne, and many Germans were coming into the country to seek their fortune. This kindled talk of rebellion among those who still believed the ousted House of Stuart was the rightful royal family.

In “Klaus,” a debt-ridden English college imports a German professor of natural philosophy (physics, we call it now) in hopes of currying favor with the king, and perhaps getting a royal bequest or two. Professor Klaus turns out to be an eccentric sort, dabbling in strange experiments with time travel.

By the show’s end, he has turned into the Santa Claus we know today, and everything about him is explained — the red suit, the reindeer, the love of milk and cookies, his residence at the North Pole, even Mrs. Claus.

“Klaus” was supposed to be the Christmas show at Studio Roanoke, a black box theatre in Roanoke, Va., specializing in new works. Alas, it closed in mid-summer. Fortunately, the Hollins Playwright’s Lab picked up the show — not for a full production but at least for a very well-rehearsed staged reading. Director Cheryl Snodgrass came in from Chicago to oversee things and we had an all-star cast for the reading on December 16. We also had a fantastic crowd; program director Todd Ristau said it was four times larger than had shown up for any previous reading in the series.

I had some trouble with the video camera. The video of act 1 (above) cuts off the introductory remarks and the first few lines. The video of act 2 (below) didn’t start until after the first scene had concluded. And the audio is poor. But you’ll get the idea. I hope to make a few changes to the script based on this reading and then send it out to publishers and theatres.

Klaus: Brian O’Sullivan
Robert, a college student: Kevin McAlexander
Percy, a college student: Blair Peyton
James, a college student: Will Coleman
Mary the landlady: Martha Boswell
Headmaster: Ross Laguzza
Grinchley, the headmaster’s assistant: Drew Dowdy

Director: Cheryl Snodgrass
Stage manager: Melissa Kennedy

* Background on the show
* Photos from first day of rehearsal
* Photos from second day of rehearsal
* Photos from third day of rehearsal
* Photos from the staged reading of “Klaus”

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