Tales of Wonder II: Coming soon!

We had our first of three all-day Saturday practices gearing up for “Tales of Wonder II” coming to penangpac December 1-3. We’ve been rehearsing since August, and today, for the first time, we put the entire show together. It’s a mix of 11 different original sketches themed around the joy and magic of Christmas. “Tales of Wonder” debuted last December and the response was so overwhelming that we decided to do another Christmas show. It’s been a blast putting this together. Here’s a glimpse into the opening of the show, “Tales of Wonder: A Drama Medley,” which highlights what’s it like to be a kid at Christmas.

snowflakes

A wonderful narrative piece about a girl in the first snow fall of the season.

sledding

A boy and his sled. And three pesky girls.

truthaboutsantaclaus

The big talk. Three parents telling the truth about Santa, but can they overcome the power of a child’s imagination?

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On Video: Our Opening Night

May 13, 2016 – World Premiere of “The Secrets of the Magic Pool” at Penang Performing Arts Centre.

I finally got it up on Youtube. We had some technical sound issues that night, a little too much treble in some of the screaming parts. Unfortunately, we don’t have video of closing night, excellent sound, sold-out crowd. But, this one will do. It was a blast to put on, and I’m really proud of my young actors who pulled this off.  Here’s Act I.

A Lot of Drama Accomplishments, 2015-2016

When I started teaching drama at our school, my goal was to expand offerings, get more students involved in a variety of different settings. Looking back on what we’ve accomplished, I think we met our goal and then some. Here’s a brief look at our year.

Our Drama Department 2015-2016

  • September – 6 short original plays – 11 actors
  • November – “Wedding Belles” – 5 actors (my colleagues production)
  • December – “Tales of Wonder: A RLT Christmas” – 4 shows – 11 actors – 10 short plays
  • February – 6 short original plays at our MEW meetings – 14 actors
  • March – “The Pink Panther” Readers Theatre – 15 actors
  • May – “The Secrets of the Magic Pool” – 16 actors
  • May – “Drama & Dance Showcase” – short famous scenes, dance routine, plus a one-act, original play – 9 actors and performers

Totaling that equals to this:

  • 4 full-length productions
  • 15 other short plays in various settings
  • over 80 roles cast (of course, some played by the same actor)

This does not include participation in the Short & Sweet Theatre Festival Penang – not a school event – but we had several students get involve in the fun and win a bunch of awards. This also doesn’t include our students drama performances at the SEA Forensics competition.

I’m really proud of what we have accomplished this year. Over 80 opportunities for students to put themselves on the line and step into the spotlight.

They were fantastic! We have the best drama students anywhere!

Can’t wait to see what next year will bring!

So Excited! Opening Night – “The Secrets of the Magic Pool”

Venue: Penang Performing Arts Centre

May 13, 2016 – 8pm – WORLD PREMIERE of my new play “The Secrets of the Magic Pool”

16 months since I first thought of this concept.

11 months since I finished the first draft of the play.

8 months since the first workshop to read it and get feedback.

5 months since I published it on Amazon.

4 months since auditions.

1. 5 months since all lines were memorized.

1 day since dress rehearsal.

It’s been a great ride, and I’m so excited to see what shall happen tonight when the curtain comes up on a new play, never before seen.

I love producing original dramas!

Break a leg, everyone.

The Script

The Event

JStef-Apr2016-2777

First Read Through

Today was so fun!

One of the great rewards for writing and producing your own dramatic works is the milestones along the way that I get to enjoy. Today is certainly one of them: the first cast read-through.

After months of writing and publishing, I have to work through the grueling auditions to finally get an amazing cast set.

And then we finally get together to read the entire script for the first time. It’s always really fun to hear the actors start to think about their roles, and wonder how the interaction will be between the boy who is love with the girl and the villain who’s ready to squish the heroine. It’s delightful, really.

What makes it even more special is knowing that we are putting on a world premiere – a show that no one else has ever seen before. Thrilling!

We all laughed a lot this afternoon as we made it through the entire script in two hours. I have to tell you, if you can be in Penang in May 2016, you’re going to be in for a treat. This play is going to be a blast to produce for a variety of reasons.

Today was one of those good days. Months of work ahead of us, but I can already see that it’s going to be well worth it.

Can’t wait!

books picture

Finished Drama: “Tales of Wonder”

I’ve been writing for my drama group The RLT Players since 2011, so we are approaching our fifth original show. That in itself seems amazing. It’s been an awesome ride as we’ve performed before hundreds if not thousands of individuals, bringing our unique brand of drama to the stage. We perform short dramatic sketches, centered around a theme, usually with some sort of morale. It’s drama with a purpose, and in the middle of so much modern drama which seems to have no purpose whatsoever, the response to what we produce has been overwhelming. We focus on all kinds of topics from family, to social issues, to economic theory, to religion, to good-old-fashioned wholesome fun. It’s really been the most rewarding experience I’ve had in connection with the theatre.

Well, the new show if finally finished. I’ve been writing it over the past couple of months. It’s our first and perhaps last Christmas show ever entitled “Tales of Wonder.” I approached the writing of this show trying to capture the essence of wonder that I felt about Christmas as a child. I want the audience to walk away in the Christmas spirit, with a smile on their face and charity in their soul. It’s a mix of the secular and the sacred, as any good Christmas show should be. This coming Monday we’ll have our first read-through with the actors, but before I do that, I wanted to highlight the 9 different dramatic sketches which will be part of the show. (in random order)

  1. National Toy Day – this is a fun satire about Congress declaring December 25 as National Toy Day.
  2. Jolly Old St. Hick – a comedy about a sophisticated urban couple whose car breaks down in the deep countryside  on Christmas Eve. A country bumpkin teaches them the true meaning of Christmas
  3. The Last Shepherd: A Musical – this is a short musical about the last living shepherd who witnessed the birth of Jesus.
  4. The Christmas Banquet – about a man who is supposed to invite every person in the world to the Christmas Banquet, but has problems inviting those who are different than him
  5. The Family Homecoming – a comedy about a rich person’s butler, who schemes to bring his employer’s family back  home at Christmas
  6. Tree Talk – a group of Christmas ornaments are all in an uproar when Candy Can realizes that she is going to be eaten at Christmas
  7. Christmas in the Trenches 1914 – Based on the true story of the British and German troops who  set aside their differences and came together to enjoy Christmas in the midst of war
  8. Season’s Greetings – a grandmother is expecting her family to visit her this year at Christmas only to receive a Christmas Card instead
  9. Tales of Wonder: A Drama Medley – this one, which gives the entire show its name, is a collection of three skits which attempt to illustrate the wonder and awe that Christmas gives to Children. All of the skits are wrapped around a beautiful medly called “Arise and Touch the Dawn.” Skit 1: Snow Fort – about boys and girls ready to attack each other with snow balls Skit 2: Santa Daddy – about a father who is caught by his daughter putting gifts under the tree. Skit 3: You Gotta Get Up – about two kids who wake up their parents early on Christmas morning

These were really fun to write. I hope I did Christmas justice. I can’t wait to start working on them. They’ll be performed at the Penang Performing Arts Centre on December 3-5.

An Overview of My Dramatic Productions

As I finished my first re-staging of one of my own dramatic works over the weekend, it made me a little nostalgic for all the full-length productions I’ve produced, written, or co-written over the past eight years. I’ll list them in chronological order with the show’s venue as well. Lots of good times here.

2008 “What I Wouldn’t Give for a Monkey Love Potion” (comedy – staged at Dalat Chapel) (unpublished)

2009 “A Tad of Trouble” (comedy-drama-musical – staged at Wawasan Open University) (unpublished)

2010 “Take Two” (comedy-musical – staged at Wawasan Open University) (available in paperback)

2011 “Spy Blue” (thriller – staged at Wawasan Open University) (available in paperback)

2011 “Romans on the Couch” (comedy – staged at Penang Performing Arts Centre) (available in paperback)

2011 “The Road Less Traveled by the RLT PLayers” – staged at Penang Performing Arts Centre)

2012 “Life with Stewart” (drama – staged at Penang Performing Arts Centre”

2012 “The RLT Players Present: Drive All Night (Back into Your Arms)” (variety – staged at Penang Performing Arts Centre)

2013 “Grandparents’ War” (comedy – Penang Performing Arts Centre)

2013 “The RLT Players’ Present: Captured in Time & Space” (variety – Penang Performing Arts Centre)

2014 “Boardwalk Melody: A Musical” (Penang Performing Arts Centre)

2014 “RLT Players Present: For All Generations” (variety – Penang Performing Arts Centre)

2015 “A Tad of Trouble: A Musical” Penang Performing Arts Centre

Future Works

December 2015  RLT Players Christmas

May 2016 “The Magic Pool”

 

Wow! That’s a lot. I absolutely love writing and producing my own work. What a privilege. There’s nothing like doing original drama for the first time ever. Lots more to come. Stay tuned.