Thursday, August 25, 2016

Five synopses

As mentioned earlier, I'll be collaborating with the hard-working director and students at Palmer Ridge High School on a new play this year. We still haven't settled on which play we're going to do, so a couple of weeks ago, I sent the director Josh Belk five ideas and asked him which ones he liked.

And here they are. Which play would you most like to see?

Lights... Camera... Murder!
Mystery comedy
Unit set: Hollywood sound stage

In the 1940's, a struggling studio pins its hopes on a swashbuckling movie starring their washed-up, womanizing star Allan Drummond. But when he remains sprawled on the floor after filming the climactic swordfight, a horrible realization sets in: Drummond has been murdered. Now it's up to Sherlock Holmes (or at least an actor from the next sound stage playing him) to figure out who put the fatal poison on the sword.

Zombie High
Multiple sets: Various high school locations.

When a batch of cafeteria food is zapped by a defective microwave, the "cool girls" at George Romero High start to turn into zombies--only nobody can tell the difference. Nobody but brainy science nerd Maggie, that is. Can Maggie convince the administration to take action before the entire student body is turned into shuffling, brain-craving monsters?

Pirates of the Caribbean Grill
Multiple sets: Various city locations.

A band of actors at a Pirate-themed restaurant get fired after taking their jobs a little too seriously (they think they're really pirates). Now they're on a quest to follow a "treasure map" they found scribbled on one of the restaurant's napkins.

Where There's a Will, There's a Way
Dark Comedy
Unit set: Drawing room

After a rich old lady leaves her entire fortune to her cat, her disappointed relatives have their own ideas how to wrest the wealth from the pampered feline. Meanwhile, the cat knows exactly what's going on and desperately tries to get help from the clueless butler assigned to care for her.

Don't Say Macbeth!
Mystery comedy
Unit set: Theatre stage

An inexperienced theatre director sets off a string of disastrous mishaps at a rehearsal for Macbeth after saying the play's title. But it soon becomes apparent that the trouble isn't all due to bad luck. Who could possibly want the production stopped--and why?

Josh ran these ideas past his theatre students and the ones they like the most are Zombie High, Pirates of the Caribbean Grill and Where There's a Will, There's a Way. He personally was leaning toward the last one, but his kids were hoping for the zombie one.

Next step? I'll develop a one-page outline for each of these three plays to see which one clicks. I've often fallen in love with a premise, only to have the whole thing fall apart when I try to work out the details. (Believe me, I have files upon files of plots that will never be written.)

Meanwhile, I'm trying finish the bookstore comedy I'm working on and pursuing a second collaboration with a local church.

It's crazy, but I'm loving it.