The Last Bastion: Staged Reading Saturday Night

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.”

lastbastionposter

Advertisements

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.”

lastbastionposter

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

最後的堡壘

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

 

Our Annual Readers’ Theatre

One of the major units of my Intro to Theatre Arts class is a readers’ theatre which the entire class has to produce. The script doesn’t need to be memorized, but the story needs to “pop” on stage as if it is memorized. A staged reading might be a synonym for what we do. We use the stage. We have motion, action, fight-scenes, you name it! It’s a real theatrical show with everything you would expect – except for the lines aren’t memorized.

We’re producing The Pink Panther this year. As you know, I do mostly original dramas at our school, but during the readers’ theatre, I like to do well known scripts to mix it up a little. Here’s what we did the past few years:

2013 “Pillow Talk”

2014 “Arsenic & Old Lace”

2015 “M*A*S*H”

2016 “The Pink Panther”

Another thing I insist on in our readers’ theatre is that the students are responsible for every aspect of the production. Student directed and student produced. I serve in advisory role as Executive Producer, collecting the big bucks but not doing any of the work.

Here’s our fearless cast:

pink panther 1

Clueless Clouseau

pink panther2

Doing a timed read-through.

pink

The actors and readers.