Readers’ Theatre: Anne of Green Gables

The main, yearly project for my Intro to Theatre Arts class is our Readers’ Theatre. It’s a performance where the actors keep the scripts in their hands, and they act it out as best as possible with as many props and set pieces as possible. For this project, I make it completely student driven. Inha directed the show this year. Caitlin produced. Each student was assigned to committees such as promotion, props, staging, etc… Caitlin had to learn how to pay royalties. Inha worked daily with the actors on the scenes and their acting skills.

This year we chose to produce “Anne of Green Gables.” I knew this would draw in the female audience of our school. Little girls, eager in anticipation, lined up to watch Anne Shirley walk the ridge pole or coyly brush away Gilbert Blythe. It’s a challenging script for one reason: not much happens in it. It’s really up to the actors to bring the story to life.

And they did it. Just got back from the show and it was a great success. The audience was engaged and receptive and the kids rose to the occasion, and then some. Great performances.

A Readers’ Theatre is a great class project I definitely recommend. Here’s a few photos from dress rehearsal yesterday.


I’m Heading On-Stage. Yes, I’m Nervous

I’m super excited and super nervous for January 21. Penang Performing Arts Centre is sponsoring a staged-reading of my brand new full length play “The Last Bastion.”


The purpose of the event is to get some audience feedback for the play’s development. I want to eventually send it on to some theatre troupes and festivals to see if anyone would like to produce it. Oh, and I hope it will be an enjoyable evening of entertainment for all involved.

I wrote this play over a two week period in October, and I’ve revised it many times since.  It was one of those creative instances of “boom” – it seemed to write itself. Very easy. I love it when a creative work comes together like that. This was not a laborious exercise. It was a fun jaunt of creativity and I hope everyone likes it. Not only for the very (hopefully) funny scenes, but also for the timely themes about modern society in the United States. My goal for writing this was not to present any answers. It was to explore points of view, perceptions, and relationships – especially family relationships.

Here’s the short synopsis:

The Last Bastion


With great trepidation, Seth Parsons brings his atheistic Chinese girlfriend home to meet his conservative Christian parents with the hope of receiving their blessing. A reading of Mark W. Sasse’s latest script followed by a Q&A segment with audience.

I’m playing Seth Parson’s boisterous father George, an outspoken conservative Christian who has his own radio show on God and County Radio.  It’s a fun role, but I’m still nervous. I’m comfortable teaching in the drama classroom, but on stage. Oh well, I’ll give it a shot. At least I’ll have the script in front of me.

Christopher Preslar is playing Seth Parsons. I only know Christopher for his superb directing and acting in Penangpac’s “The Glass Menagerie” last September. Actually, it was after watching his show that gave me the new idea for “The Last Bastion.” So I’m really looking forward to working with Christopher on this. He’ll be directing “Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo” later this spring, so I’m looking forward to that too.

Alison Hurst is playing Hannah Parsons, George’s wife. Alison is a drama teacher at Uplands School, and she, like me, is not used to be on the stage, but I’m so glad she agreed to join us. I’ve seen some of her productions and she brings a great eye and creativity to everything she does.

Vinna Law rounds out the cast by playing Rainbow (Jia-Yi), Seth’s atheistic Chinese girlfriend. I got to know Vinna this past November when she directed my play “Alone in a Bar” at the KL Short & Sweet Theatre Festival. Physical theatre is her specialty, but she will bring the perfect attitude and creative thinking for Rainbow, a rather complex character who is dealing with some hidden family issues.

So I think from the set up that you can see a lot of cultural clashes coming when the atheistic Chinese girlfriend of Seth walks into the last bastion of conservatism in deep up-state New York. But there is a lot more going on besides that. There are some understated themes of home and reconciliation which I hope will be discovered by the audience.

I really enjoyed writing this play, and I can’t wait to see what happens with it.

Come on out and enjoy this free event – well, penangpac is taking donations for their patron of the arts fund.

January 21, 2016 – 8pm @ penangpac Stage 2


Readers Theater – Here we come!

My “Intro to Theater Arts” class is conducting our first ever Readers Theater at the end of March.  It’s a term many people seem not to be familiar with, so I wanted to highlight some of its features and how we are planning to produce our show.

Generally speaking, a Readers Theater is a dramatic performance where the actors do not memorize their lines; rather they use vocal interpretation to bring the script alive. Usually this is done without costumes, sets, or props.

I wanted my class to have experience producing a show, but with limited time I knew that a full-fledged production would not be viable.  I heard of Readers Theater through a friend’s friend who actually used one of my scripts for a Readers Theater performance (“Spy Blue”).   So I chose “Pillow Talk” (because we already had the script) as our work. (Remember the Doris Day-Rock Hudson film of the same name?)

I assigned a director and co-producers from my classroom, chose parts, and are now head-long into the production.

But the class wanted to go all out. They will be using limited sets, props, and costumes to bring the performance alive. We’ll be setting up four portable stages around our all-purpose room and use the par-can lighting to give it that theater flare.

Yesterday, we shot a trailer for the show. I’ll try to post when I can.

It’s going to be a ton of fun. March 28 in Penang. If you are around, I hope you can make it to our first Readers Theater ever!