I’d like to take a couple posts to expound a little on the writing of my new show: “For All Generations.” The show is a series of dramatic sketches which portray a variety of generational themes – families – grandparents – sacrifice for country. Let me start with my favorite piece of the bunch, a mini-historical drama called “If Love is a Crime, String Me Up.”
Surprisingly, this was the first time I attempted to write a historical short play. As the description above mentions, a run-away slaves is met by Beatrice, a conductor on the underground railroad, and she has to stand up to Earl, the local sheriff, when he comes looking for the slave he heard about from a bounty hunter.
The writing of this play is purposefully understated to allow Beatrice, and her love, to shine. “Elly” the slave girl, doesn’t know what to do or what to expect, but she is completely overwhelmed by this woman who does more than just provide a meal. Beatrice models the very nature of being independent, confident, and self-assured, instilling in Elly the necessary tools and attitudes that she will need to survive as she slips into Canada.
Beatrice is one of the favorite characters I have ever created. Strong, funny, determined, loving to the core. And she’s a great cook which helps to distract the sheriff. This is an extremely moving play that tears me up every time in rehearsal. I can’t wait to bring it to the crowd.
The next piece, “Revenge of the Grandparents” is a purely blissful comedy. I wanted to exaggerate (just a little) how grandparents dote over and spoil their grand kids, much to the chagrin of the parents. It starts when grandpa is watching the two kids and has fed them lots of sugar. They are flying around the room when their mother walks in, flabbergasted at how out of control they are. The grandpa leaves in bliss, while the parents say how they will get their revenge when they themselves are grandparents. Then, on stage, the parents are transformed into time and become grandparents, and they are now watching their granddaughter Janie, whose mother is overly protective and only allows her to eat organic vegetables. But the grandparents unleash on her lots of surprises from chocolate sundaes to hunting the “woogu-woogus” to jumping off the steps … When Jane’s parents return, they are in shock to discover how blatantly the grandparents disregarded all of their instructions. This is a hilarious piece which will have the audience in stitches. It’s also a piece that anyone who ever had that over indulgent grandparent will be able to relate to.
The last one I’d like to talk about today is “More Heart, Less Attack.” This one was inspired by an idea that one of my actors had. He wanted to convey how Asian parents may misunderstand each other. It starts with an Asian child getting a whipping for a poor grade, and then through a series of soliloquys, we come to understand what each of them are really thinking. Then I added in another set of mother-child, this one looking at common misunderstandings about using technology and the pressures that kids feel about studying. It’s a simple piece which is meant to illuminate understanding between two generations.
And that’s a wrap of 3 out of the 10 pieces I’ve written. More to come …