It is already Thursday of my Spring Breakation — and what have I done? Well, I went to see “Pterodactyls” last Saturday night. I went out to eat with friends, and will probably be writing up some of those experiences. Celebrated Mardi Gras. I’ve been working out, as I promised myself I would do. I wrote a few book reviews. I spent days on rewriting a play that is being read tonight at The Shubin Theatre. It’s called “Days of Obligation”, and an earlier version of the play was a finalist in the Eugene O’Neill competition years ago, after which I threw it in a drawer. So, years have gone by, my life has rolled on, and it felt like time to pull the script out and work on it again. Green Light Arts Reading Series is producing the reading, and offering talkbacks and a reception afterwards. It is the first of three plays being read this week, tonight, Friday and Saturday. “Magdalene” by Jackie Ruggiero Jacobson on Friday, March 11 and “She Should Have Written It: A Story of Bohemian Surveillance” by Bonnie MacAllister on Saturday March 12. All shows are at 7, with talkback and reception immediately following.
So how are my rewrites going? It’s taken hundreds of hours wrestling the script, but I think it is turning out to be a better piece. The result is a much shorter play – about 75 minutes now, down from about two and a half hours – with a very different tone, and some retooled characters. My cast is incredible: Denise Shubin, Pamela Dollak, Karina Croskrey, Michael Onori, Marc Forget and Colin Wolfe.
The play takes place in 1986 in the home of retired General, Gilbert Fay, whose background includes years of black ops in Southeast Asia. His wife, Mitzi, is a fading ex-beauty queen now fighting breast cancer. Their youngest daughter has just come home from prison, with a drug habit and a dangerous ex-boyfriend. The oldest daughter also arrives, after 15 years of estrangement, bringing her Boston Brahmin husband to meet the folks. It’s a look back at a time when Reagan was still in the White House, the Iran Contra fiasco was fresh news, and the Cold War was just ending. What remains timeless, however, is family dysfunction and the surreal ways it permeates your life.
After tonight, I am shifting gears into the Hidden River Arts work. Updating the website for the most recent round of Fiction and Drama Competitions, officially naming the winners of the 2010 round, and jumping into Spring.