Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Thought Process Behind Writing A Play



About MORGAN!

     My (then) ten-year-old daughter gave me the idea to write a play about King Arthur’s shadowy half-sister, Morgan Le Fay. We had been looking into the reasons behind many of Arthur’s advancements, and the name “Morgan” kept re-appearing. Finally, with genuinely furrowed brow, she turned to me and asked, “Morgan? Who is he?”

     That did it.

     The more-or-less standard literary answer to that question satisfied her curiosity, but started me on my own quest. Simply to say she was Arthur’s half-sister, jealous for power, blah blah blah, seemed shallow. In my reasoning, she had become a medieval novelist’s tool, used to justify the why behind many of the adventures in Camelot - simply that and nothing more; a cause-and-effect woman, without reasoned passion or warm blood. That dismissal was not nearly a good enough answer for me.

     So. Before I placed the first word on paper, I started reading. For two l-o-n-g years I devoured every jot of fact and fiction I could lay eyes upon. I also studied actual histories – the justification of the romance of knighthood in flower, suggesting that it all started with Arthur … which was a lie. Writers at the time placed Arthur a good 500 years later than he actually lived.

     From the start I had been struggling with what seemed like an insurmountable problem. If I portrayed the Arthur of legend as anything but good, I would have a minor riot on my hands. But I didn’t want Morgan to be bad either, at least not in the beginning. The answer came from a TV news report (Thank you CBS), examining rumors that Americans had massacred the inhabitants of a small village during the Viet Nam war. I instantly saw parallels. It was possible for good men to do bad things, and suddenly MORGAN had flesh. As a small child Morgan had seen her father killed and her mother raped, later to give birth to Arthur. It became clear – Morgan wanted justice, and, being a woman, took the only means available to her to achieve her goals – black magic.

     So? What happened? What went wrong?

     Somewhere I remembered reading that “absolute power corrupts absolutely.” That pointed me in a direction that justified what actually happened in everybody else’s version of the story. Further, the shadow of Adolf Hitler seems to guide her adult years into fear, hate, and paranoia, and at the same time allowing her to be a spell caster in more than one way.

     In the end, I think I was more kind to Morgan than others have been. I had her powers taken from her, yet allowed her to live. I should like to think that in her final years sanity might have been restored to a degree, and she might have found peace of a sort.

     Nope. The story isn’t over yet. In doing all this research, I decided there are THREE plays here. MORGAN is the second play, and there are conclusions from the first play woven into the plot. The third play gives a final – if surprising – end to the Arthur drama. Three plays, then – MERLIN, MORGAN, MERDOC. The third play, MERDOC, has perhaps a dozen pages written so far. The first play, MERLIN, has perhaps one page written – all character.


    At some point I might have the inclination to finish the trio of plays. No hurry. I have all the time in the world.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD

February 1, 2013
Received phone calls today from two black actors interested in filling the roles we were unable to cast.  Whew. This will put us back to top speed.

January 26, 2013
Auditions were last weekend. All went reasonably well. One woman dropped out before the first actual rehearsal - taken to the hospital, she says, with severe stomach problems. We have yet to cast the two black male roles. Looking around. Thursday we rehearsed in the theatre with no heat. Furnace problems. The temperature was 42 degrees. My hands were shaking so badly I couldn't read my blocking notes on the script. Other than that, everything is going well. Business as usual.

May 1, 2012
I was just informed I was selected to direct TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD next March. More later

Sunday, January 20, 2013

ROUGH DRAFT

A one-act play I wrote, ROUGH DRAFT, was optioned by the Shots In The Dark Independent Theatre Company. The play was produced for a 4 performance run, with an impressive amount of ballyhoo about "World Premiere" and tons of publicity. I was impressed. The cast and director were all young - early 20s - and I had misgivings as to whether they could actually pull off a fast-paced comedy with exacting timing. They did alright. I was sorry to see the run end - each performance was more inventive and more secure than the one before. It would have been interesting to see how far they developed it, given the opportunities.




Saturday, June 18, 2011

OF MICE AND MEN















HARVEY


The completed set.


Produced by Emerald City Players, Dublin Ohio

2009 Performance Dates
September 4, 5, 11, 12, 17, 18, 9 at 8:00 pm
September 13 at 2:00 pm

Cast/Crew list
Miss Johnson - Kate Mock
Myrtle Mae Simmons - Megan Pierce
Veta Louise Simmons - Margaret Riggle Collins
Elwood P. Dowd - Andy Crawford
Mrs. Ethel Chauvenet - Judy Parker
Ruth Kelly, RN - Kate Mock
Duane Wilson - Don Roberts
Lyman Sanderson, MD - John Grote
William R. Chumley, MD - Dwight Shumway
Betty Chumley - Joyce Roberts
Judge Omar Gaffney - Tim Dougherty
EJ Lofgren - Greg Kurtz

Director - Robert Weesner
Stage Manager - Greg Kurtz
Costumes - Judy Parker
Rehearsal Assistant - Barb Weesner
Light Design - Rick Foster and Alex Foster
Sound and Light Operator - Dave Tucker  

Friday, June 17, 2011

ZACK



Produced by the Bread And Circus Theatre Company, Hilliard Ohio

2011 Production Dates
May 13, 14, 19, 20, 21 at 8pm, May 15, 2:30 pm
Cast/Crew list
Mrs Munning - Mimi Ninde
Paul Munning - Andrew Heaton
Zack Munning - Will Smith
Virginia Cavender - Sabina Thalheim
Joe Wrigley - Jim McCullough
Martha Wrigley – CJ Jamison
Sally Teale - Jaymee Halley
Mildred Mowatt - Barb Weesner
Harry Showbridge - John Heisler
James Abbott - Doug Davis

Director - Robert Weesner
Stage Manager - John Heisler
Rehearsal Assistant - Lynette D. Grace
Lights/sound - Steve Halley.
Costumer - Mimi Ninde
Make-up and hair styles - D.C. Simpson
Props - Doug Davis
Photographer - Doug Titchenal

OUR TOWN

Produced by the Little Theatre Off Broadway, Grove City Ohio

Performance Dates
September 15 thru October 7, 2006

Cast/Crew list
Stage Manager – Jim Dippel
George Gibbs – Tony Love
Emily Webb – Jennifer Collins
Mr. Webb – Tom Bolton
Mrs Webb – Barb Weesner
Professor Willard – Colin Classen
Doc Gibbs – Doug Davis
Mrs. Gibbs – Lynne Doyle
Townsperson – Kim Haaf
Constable Warren – Mitchell Haaf
Mrs. Soames – Mary Heger
Sam Craig – Joseph Inch
Joe/Si Crowell – Andrew McCloud
Simon Stimson – Timothy S. Klugh
Wally Webb – Braden McClellan
Townsperson – Tammy McClellan
Rebecca Gibbs – Becca Ross
Joe Stoddard – Ed Schwartz
Howie Newsome – Dan Stanton

Director – Robert Weesner
Technical Director – Scott Jones
Stage Manager – Delora Klugh
Costumes – Patty Bennett
Sound design – Timothy S. Klugh
Props – Tammy McClellan
Light board operator – Cindy Penry
Sound operator – Felice Schwartz