Self-Assessment: How I Rank My Own Plays

I’ve written or co-written seven full length plays. All of them were a blast to produce and stage, but some of them, in my opinion, have staying power while others I would probably never want to revisit.

Why am I contemplating the quality of my plays? Well, my latest one, “Grandparents’ War” finished its limited run on Saturday night to rave reviews. I’ve heard comments like ‘How can you top that?’ to ‘That’s the funniest thing I saw in a longtime.’ That’s awesome to hear, of course. But where does “Grandparents’ War” rank in my own estimation?  Let’s do a countdown.

7. Monkey Love Potion (2007) – This was the first play I co-wrote with students back in the fall of 2007. We were flying by the seat of our pants. My goal was just to produce something, somewhat coherent. It ended up being a loose plot held together by a bunch of one-liners. Funny. Yes. Silly. Yes. Meaningful. Ahhhh – no. That’s why it’s on the bottom.

6. Take Two (2009) – Take Two is far better than Monkey Love Potion. It’s a romantic comedy that incorporates a lot of original music. It’s light, fun, and very enjoyable to produce. The reviews were good. But for me, the writing lacks staying power. I wouldn’t want to revisit it.

5. Romans on the Couch (2010) – I wrote this in, like, four days. It was meant to be a short fun play where the actors get to interact with the audience. We actually staged an interactive night where we just went crazy with the audience and it was a blast! I would definitely stage this again. I liked it a lot.

4 – 1.  Now, I have a hard time choosing. I think these four plays are a cut above the rest and I don’t know how to rank them, so I’ll go by chronological order.

2008 A Tad of Trouble – This is a hit. It is a musical about a guardian angel who gives her subject, a troubled mute boy, the gift of song if he promises to right the wrongs he’s done. It’s got an awesome villain in Obediah Clementine; it’s set in Midwest USA in 1903. I love this play and I AM going to re-stage it. Some of the writing needs to be crisper and I want to redo some of the songs, but it was wonderful, and it’s coming back to the stage. Unfortunately, it remains unpublished at this point.

2010 Spy Blue – This one stretched me – and everyone else to get really creative in trying to put on a serious spy drama that was not just a rip off of every other spy movie and book out there. We succeeded. Spy Blue has a wonderful plot-line with some great characters. I liked it so much that I re-wrote the play into novella format. I may just expand it into a full-fledged novel someday. The ending is anything but guessable. We wanted to hit people in the gut – and we succeeded. This is a great play.

2011 Life with Stewart – This play has some of my best drawn characters. It has depth and meaning and a very solid plot-line – punchy dialogue – plus a wonderful and creative “Black and White Sitcom Scene” where the play goes back in time and recreates Stewart’s famous groundbreaking sitcom. It was a lot of fun. It was part funny, and part serious. Probably more serious than funny. But very well written.

2012 Grandparents’ War – This is quality comedy. A lot of historical references and cultural items enrich the writing as two very different families come crashing into each other. Some absolutely hysterical dialogue and actions which had the audience rolling.

I guess I can’t rank these four because they are so different from each other. I believe any drama troupe would have a blast staging any of these plays.

If you know of a school or local theater who wants some quality, original drama. Please introduce them to my work.

Much appreciated.

PS: I’ve decided to write another musical this year. It’s been three years. It’s time. More info to follow.


Take Two – Romantic/Comedy/Musical on sale NOW!

Join the whacky film crew from the “other world” as they  are sent to film the life of Aubrey Culpepper who has serious guy problems.  As Aubrey leaves another man at the altar, things get really wild behind the scenes as the egotistical director Floomenberg keeps changing screenwriter Sneergarble’s script much to the chagrin of the mysterious film producer Zelderphen.  Will Aubrey ever find her true love or is she just a pawn being controlled by the “other world”? With catchy songs and crazy antics, Take Two is a comedic joy ride that is hard to resist.

Take Two: Comedy-Musical Available in Print!

Take Two: Who Directs Your Life – the wild and crazy musical-comedy is finally coming to print.

In this scene, Aubrey (middle right) is getting ready to lose her job as she will shortly lose control and attack her former fiance Humphries (middle left).  Rebecca (LEFT) and Beth (RITE) are the two stereo speakers who provide the soundtrack to Aubrey’s life.

Photo by J. Steffan

Location:  Wawasan Open University Theater, 2010Photo by J. Steffan