Getting Ready for Short & Sweet Penang

This is the third year that I’ve been involved with the Short & Sweet Theatre Penang festival which is kicking off next week. In 2011 I submitted my short play “Drive All Night” which came home with the Audience Choice Award. That was a lot of fun. Last year my script “No in Spite of Itself” won for Best Script, which was an honor for me. Even my daughter won the award for Best Supporting Actor – Female. All the awards and honors are great, but they are certainly secondary in my book. Here’s a few things I especially like about this festival:

  • It’s a great intro to live theatre for a lot of performers. This festival attracts a lot of young people who may haven’t had the opportunity to perform. It’s a stretching and fun experience, and, hopefully, it will connect them to the magical world of live theatre for the rest of their lives.
  • Second, it’s a fun mix of professional and amateur performers. It’s great to see those who work in the performing arts take part in the festival right alongside the newbies. What a great way to learn! The mixture and interaction is fun for all involved.
  • For me it’s a great bridge into the community. I can become somewhat isolated with work and home and work and home, but this is a tangible opportunity for me to do what I love in a community setting. I meet new people, network, learn, interact, and, generally, just have a good time!
  • Lastly it’s about watching the varied performances. Some great. Some, frankly, not so great. But that is what’s engaging about this show. It’s 10, 10-minute plays. If one’s not good, it won’t be long until the next one comes. It’s also a great way to judge performances and to see what is and is not an effective way to act in or direct a piece.

The festival kicks off this week with the dance portion.

Next week starts the theatre portion. My script “A Pinch of Fate, a Shot of Destiny” will be one of the scripts being produced. I’m also directing another one called “The Surgeon’s Creed.” Two other scripts being produced were submitted by my students, so I’m proud of my drama group making some great in-roads into the local theatre scene. If you are in Penang next week, stop by PenangPAC and check it out – September 3-6.

Short and Sweet Penang 2014

Happy Easter!

To all the Christians out there who will be celebrating Easter this weekend, I wish you a happy and blessed one!

I’ll be attending a sunrise service by the beach, followed by breakfast. Then I’ll be coming home to bake a pineapple-glazed, black forest ham for Easter Sunday dinner with the family.

Enjoy!

 

Writing Agenda: What’s on Tap

Every few months I like to highlight and update my writing to see what I’ve accomplished and what I’m currently working on. Here’s the latest:

Recently Finished:

 

  • Full-length Musical – Boardwalk Melody: A Musical. Currently in production.
  • Novel The Reach of the Banyan Tree – set for a July 1 release
  • Short Musical A Woman at War (now my co-composer is working on it) Will be entered in Short & Sweet Musical Malaysia later this year.
  • Apathy – A short play about Michelangelo’s creation of mankind paintings on the roof of the Sistine Chapel
  • The Heavyweight Fight of the Ages: Almighty God vs. Nothingness – A short play about Michelangelo’s creation of the universe paintings.

Currently Working on:

  • Novel 4 – Jonny, Who Stood on the World – about 2/3 finished with the first draft. Projected release date of early 2015.
  • Play – A full-length play for adult audiences on a rather controversial topic. I’ll keep it vague for now.

In the Works:

  • Two more short plays about the Sistine Chapel paintings. All four of these dramatic sketches will be produced as part of our Fine Arts Festival in May.
  • Eight more dramatic sketches for RLT Players 2014 season. Already have lots of interesting ideas. And new material to submit to Short & Sweet Malaysia. I want to do a reworking of a short play I co-wrote last year called “I Once Was Blind.” It’s a powerful piece.
  • Novel 5 – First chapter already finished. I also already have a title. But this one’s a long way off.

I love writing and creativity!

 

Government can be a blessing in a time of tragedy.

As we all send out our anxious prayers to the grief-stricken families affected by the tragic disappearance of the Malaysian airliner, I was reminded how we need to be thankful that we live in a day and age where governments can step in and help in the midst of trials.

I have a feeling that isn’t such a popular message these days. Government is popular to criticize, and not without cause. The offer a huge bulls-eye which is easy to hit. Most of the time they put the bulls-eye on themselves due to bone-headed moves and head-shaking behavior. Plus, no one likes paying taxes or having the IRS looking over your every move.

Much debate and discussion has been elicited recently about the role of government in today’s modern world. Some criticize the nanny state mentality which pushes for cradle to grave entitlements and massive economic overhaul in order to redistribute wealth. Others criticize the political right as being cold-hearted in their approach to government, espousing deregulation and business practices which pits the “good ole’ boys” rubbing elbows with government types in shady corner bars on Friday evenings.

But when tragedy strikes, we all finally get a glimpse of what government can do right, even if their steps are not mistake-proof.

Government, however funded, has the ability, know-how, time, energy and resources to step in where individuals would not be able to succeed.

Look what is happening now in the South China Sea as I write. China, Malaysia, Vietnam, and the Philippines have sent search and rescue teams, navy jets, and logistical teams ready to offer hope to any survivors or to react quickly to any scenarios where they can help.

Investigation teams in Malaysia and elsewhere will spend years sorting through the clues to try and determine the cause of the disappearance, trying to make sure that something like this does not happen again. The United States has dispatched FBI to the region in order to offer assistance if their help is needed. The coordination between and heart-felt sympathies of the various countries involved show us a glimpse of the purpose of government.

This is a moment to be proud of our governments and what they can do in times of need.

So as you offer up a prayer for this tragedy, add a quick sentence for those officials who are involved in managing and getting to the bottom of this crisis.

There will be plenty of time later to continue in our criticism of government. But for now, count it a blessing that we do, indeed, live under the rule of government.

Thank you! Best blog month ever!

I just wanted to thank all of you who have checked out my blog during October 2013. It was by far and away my biggest blog month ever in both number of views and number of visitors.

Though the numbers are still modest, I greatly appreciate everyone who has stopped by to same an article, read about a promotion, or check out some original writing.

There are many more articles to come about writing, history, culture, and life. I’ve enjoyed sharing my thoughts and writings with you over this past year, and I hope for much more interaction to come.

Thanks for stopping by!

The Recluse Storyteller: Meet the Characters, Part I

With one week left before the release of my second novel, I’m pleased to introduce some of the fun and unique characters you’ll meet on this journey. 

Margaret: The recluse who tells stories based on her neighbors.

Michael Cheevers: The jolly loner who lives beside Margaret. He wears a red baseball cap and mainly keeps to himself. But Margaret knows more about him than he thinks.

CHARACTER INSPIRED BY CHEEVERS: Red Hat – The terrorist, who seems to have a mysterious scheme to accomplish but keeps being sidetracked by bizarre things like flying flower pots and yoghurt trucks.

Mrs. Trumble: The snooty neighbor across from Margaret who gets her hand caught in Margaret’s door when trying to return a piece of mis-delivered mail. She declares Margaret a menace and wants her put away.

Janice: Margaret’s aunt, who looks in on her from time to time. She doesn’t know what to do with Margaret, who seemingly keeps slipping away from reality into her stories.

CHARACTER INSPIRED BY JANICE: Janice. In Margaret’s stories, Janice pierces incessantly into the blinding light coming towards her, ready to sacrifice everything for the light.

Priscilla and Florence. In Margaret’s story called Red Hat, they are the hilarious elderly sisters who accidentally drop a flower-pot on Red Hat’s head. This, of course, slows him down.

Chester Tomsey. Chester is Margaret’s boss. He sends work to Margaret over the Internet and she completes various manuals and projects for him in order to make a living. When Margaret’s stories start to affect her work, he does all he can to stop Mrs. Trumble’s witch hunt.

And I’ll even throw in a couple of places:

TWO IMPORTANT PLACES:
The Village of To Hap – In Margaret’s story called “The Ridge”, a former Vietnam vet, looking for peace of mind, returns to the Vietnamese village of To Hap where a horrific incident happened during the Vietnam War.

Harper’s Hill (19th century American Midwest) – In Margaret’s story called “The Mark Across the Sky”, the young girl, Georgia, sees a strange mark in the sky. She’s convinced that it means her father is coming home. She encourages her sister to trek to the top of Harper’s Hill, to the lonely crab apple tree, hopeful to witness her father’s return. But she could have never expected to find what she finds.

Tomorrow: Meet Reverend Davies, Reverend Taylor, Mrs. Johnson & her twin girls Sam & Pam. Georgia & Gwen.

PRE-RELEASE SALE CONTINUES UNTIL OCTOBER 7. Save $1 on ebook pre-orders at Apple iBookstores, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords.

recluse storyteller cover med