Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Lester lives

Just got word that my one-act play Long Tall Lester won the New Rocky Mountain Voices short play contest. Not only is this my first contest win, but the play will be performed at the historic Jones Theater in Westcliffe, Colorado--just 100 miles SW of my home--so you can bet I'll be in attendance for both of the performances.

The play is a fun little one-act about a meek encyclopedia salesman forced to confront a notorious outlaw when the regular sheriff heads for the hills.

What makes this win especially meaningful to me is that it resurrects a play that was first (and last) performed five years ago by Pikes Peak KidStage, the children's theatre company my wife and I founded in 2005.

There's a scene in which the saloon girl Floozie Feathers cozies up to the title character to persuade him to take on the gun-toting desperado. I thought it would be awkward for a preteen boy and girl to act out such a scene so I engaged in a bit of creative casting. I had my 10-year-old daughter Brooke play Floozie and my 13-year-old daughter Ashley play Lester. Sure, there were some embarrassed giggles, but it was all just part of the fun.

Can't wait to see these characters brought to life by adults.

Friday, July 15, 2011

That breath of life

Just had lunch with Jim Jackson, a former circus clown and all-around great guy who does more than anyone else in Colorado Springs to promote the development of new works. With his wife, the incomparable, multitalented Birgitta De Pree, he runs the Manitou Art Theatre, a funky little 87-seat theatre in a former auto body shop on the west side of town.

The reason for our meeting? We decided to start a playwriting group.

It's a real win-win-win. Local playwrights get an opportunity to hear their works read. Local actors get to hone their craft. And Jim and Birgitta get new people into their theater as well as a first look at any production-worthy pieces that come out of the group.

Should be fun. More importantly, it'll get new works off the page and onto the stage. Of all the arts, theatre is the most like life itself -- but it requires good actors to give it that breath of life.

Now all we need is a name...