I just got back from the first and only rehearsals with my fellow actors for the staged reading of my new play “The Last Bastion.” We did an initial reading and then somewhat mapped out our blocking on stage and did a staged rehearsal.
Tomorrow, we have a dress rehearsal in the afternoon and then the big show at 8pm @penangpac followed by a short Q & A to get some feedback for the piece.
I’m on stage for one of the few times in my life, but I had a lot of fun with the role, playing boisterous George Parsons, the conservative Christian talk show host who will do anything to protect the last bastion of conservatism. Christopher Preslar is playing George’s son Seth, who is bringing home his atheistic Chinese girlfriend (Vinna Law) to meet his parents. Ai Ching Ung is reading the role of Hannah, George’s faithful wife, who keeps some secrets of her own.
So if you are in town, please come on out and enjoy “The Last Bastion.”
It’s one thing to write a novel and press the publication button, sending it out into the reader-sphere to be met with an audience of critics.
But it is entirely another thing to sit back at opening night of the play you have written and watch talented young actors bring it to life, to see the delighted faces of the audience, clinging on every work, to see the smiles and laughter, to see the tilted heads and curled-up emotional responses when a poignant scene draws a tear.
As writer and director, I had the privilege of witnessing such a scene last night as my new show “For All Generations” hit the stage for the first time. I was literally exhausted after the show. It’s like it was my heart and my body out on that stage, soaking in the eyes, the smiles and applause.
This beats the release of a novel any day.
I am always curiously interested in audience response because it can rarely be predicted. As an actor stated to me, we become so accustomed to the script that we forget that the audience may even laugh at it when performed, so it is easy to be caught off guard when a long overlooked phrase entices a cacophony of cackles and giggles.
Comedy is great, but I’m especially pleased when the audience connects with a serious piece which makes them cry and think. I saw plenty of that last night.
Overall, it was an amazing opening night, performed by an amazing group of actors. I am so proud of what they accomplished and I can’t wait to see it three more times this weekend.
Here’s part two which highlights the writing behind a few of the dramatic sketches which go live for the first time ever next week at the opening of “For All Generations.”
“The Last Princess” is one of those comedy sketches which suddenly turn dramatic. I like those. I purposefully started it light, with a spoiled princess who lives within a utopia, Xanadu, constructed by her repressive father, King Antoine. The princess gets upset when she thinks her pink fluffy boa is not as soft as it was the day before. She insists that her attendant throws it away, which she does. But the next day in Xanadu, when one of her subjects asks her where the boa is, the princess demands it back. Ultimately she decides to go down the chute to find her boa only to discover that there is a cruel and oppressed world out there that she never knew about. This play actually touches on a common theme in many of my writings – overbearing and authoritarian governments who shackle the people. The hilarious beginning is turned on its head when the princess has to decide what to do with her new found knowledge. There is sure to be a confrontation with her father. It’s a fun script that holds a lot of underlying meaning.
This is one of those mostly meaningless fun scripts which are full of bad puns and lots of cheap laughs. In many ways, it almost strays into kids’ theatre with crazy gestures, yelling, running around, and lots of confusion. The premise is simple. A grandpa sets a trap for his granddaughter simply to drive her crazy. I thought of this when I was checking out at a superstore one day, staring at a clock shop. Bad pun after bad pun related to time kept flowing through my brain, so I decided to make a crazy little play about it. Our actors are hilarious in this one.
“The Will” is just wild and crazy – like my actors. For the first time ever, I specifically crafted a role for each of my actors – they even play themselves in this skit, using their own names. The script is centered around the death of a billionaire patriarch who gathers everyone for the reading of the will. Here are the characters: the executor, crazy son Joseph who thinks he’s a butterfly, gold-digger 9th wife, vain movie star, corporate CEO, airhead blogger, bipolar sister, the butler, half-Indian senator and adopted son, a disgruntled employee, and the forgotten son who is always overlooked. This is the longest piece of the night because everyone has a substantial role. But I’ve got the running down down to 15 minutes which is do-able. It’s a fun script, and all the actors are great.
I’m lucky to have such a great group of young actors to work with.
Part three soon!