“A Woman at War” – My Musical Opens Today in Kuala Lumpur

I’m very excited about the 10 minute musical that I wrote which was chosen for production in the Short & Sweet Musical Festival KL 2014. It opens tonight at the Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre, and will be showing through Saturday along with five other musicals. I’ll be flying down to KL on Friday and will be able to catch the show on Friday and Saturday nights. I’ll make sure to take pictures and post the exciting glitz and glamour from the event.

Ten minute musicals are fun to write, but they have their unique challenges. They are short, so they have to be focused. I wrote one last year called “Captured in Time and Space” which was much more of a thematic piece – not a linear narration.

This year I wanted to tell a story by music in ten minutes. I wanted it to be an emotionally gripping story. Yes, I wanted tears in the audience. (We’ll see if that happens or not.)

So I came up with the concept of a war bride of WWII, saying goodbye to her new husband who is off to war. But in a very real sense, those brides who stayed behind had to fight their own wars. Wars of extreme emotion and confusion. Wars of worry. Wars of rationing. Wars of longing for everything to go back to normal.

So I wrote a three-part musical. Part I is called The Wedding and all the hopes, worries and desires that go into it. Then they part. Part II is the war where our heroine grows victory gardens, rations food, and works in a factory – all the while thinking and worrying about her lost love whom she fears will never come home.

Then the bells of victory sound and she anticipates his return, only to find her husband return as an invalid and broken man, in shell-shock, completely unresponsive.

This woman at war has to decide what she will do with her “selfish thoughts” since “he’s not the same man that I once knew”.

She’s still warring with herself, even though the war is over.

The point being – war is never over.

I’m real happy with how the lyrics turned out. I created the melodies for the different tunes in the musical, then I passed them on to my colleague and co-composer Laura Danneker who took them and created a lot of cool music to go with my melodies.

The resulting piece is a powerful piece of dramatic musical theatre.

I have not been connected at all with the production. I’ve met the director once and have communicated back and forth, but I have no idea which creative direction that they took the piece. It should be fun to discover.

“A Woman at War” – KLPAC Sept 23-26, 2014.

On my first trip to KlPAC

Why Does it always feel so good to get away? That’s exactly what my wife and I are doing this weekend.  We flew to Kuala Lumpur to take in the performance of my mini-musical Captured in Time & Space  in the Short & Sweet Musical Festival.

My thoughts?  I don’t know. It’s really strange to see a performance of something you’ve written but weren’t part of the production process. My drama group, The RLT Players, will be performing the same musical in November, so I certainly have  preconceived notions about the script. But I found it’s very interesting to see what someone else envisions for your work.

Overall, I thought the production was good. the actors certainly worked hard at it and they highlighted the themes well. Is it exactly how I would interpret it? No. But that’s the fun in it. Seeing how others view your work. Its been really fun to be part of the process.

After the show, a guy I never met before  came up to me and said, “Are you Mark?” He introduced himself as an actor who is acting in my script for Short & Sweet Theatre KL in a couple of weeks. He’s acting in my script Almighty Might (one of my favorites which you can read right here on my blog).

It’s a ton of fun being here in KL and seeing my writing come to life. I realize how lucky I am.

But I’m much too excited to go to sleep.

Pictures coming tomorrow!









My Summer Writing Plans

I have three weeks of busyness ahead of me, and then writing time. Next week is drama week with the debut of my new play, “Grandparents’ War.” Then a few days of review with my students and then exam week. After that, freedom for the summer. And that means writing! Here’s what I currently have on tap:

Writing Task 1: Novel #3 – Can’t wait to pound out another 40,000+ words to finish this novel which remains untitled. It’s completely set in Vietnam during two different time periods – 1945 & 2000. Though I have a feeling the setting might also include Thailand and the USA. I’m about 13,000 words in right now and I’m very excited about it. So many ideas. Just need time! Releasing to the world in 2014.

Writing Task 2: Final edits on novel #2 – The Recluse Storyteller. I’m getting some excellent feedback from advanced readers who are currently helping me with this work. I can’t wait to delve back into this unique story and put the finishing touches on it. Where will this novel take you?  From a 19th century American prairie, to a confusing battle scene in Vietnam, to a terrorist bank robbery, to a touching story about a pair of twins, The Recluse Storyteller is a fun and gripping story about someone trying to reach her neighbors through her stories. I can’t wait to release it. Tentatively scheduled for an early fall 2013 release. Stay tuned.

Writing Task 3: I have 9 dramatic sketches I’m working on for my drama troupe The RLT Players. I have a mini-musical that’s written, but I’m working with a composer to finish some of the music so we can enter it in KL’s Short and Sweet Musical competition. I have another short comedy I wrote called “The Giant Squid that Ate Georgetown” – yes, it’s a little change of pace for me – that I’m planning on entering in Penang’s Short & Sweet Theatre Competition. I have another 7 sketches that I have started to one degree or another. Lot’s of interesting ideas. Will share more later.

I have about two months to complete all of this. I’m so excited about having some extended writing time. I can’t wait to share my new writing with the world.

Thanks for your support everyone. Much more to come. Soon!