Sunday, September 23, 2018

Trouble in Paradise Junction hits close to home

You can leave your hometown, but your hometown will never leave you.

That was true for me when I wrote my small-town satire Trouble in Paradise Junction. And it was true for Iowa Central Community College theater director Teresa Jackson when she first read the script.

"I fell in love with the town and its citizens on my first reading and heard their voices in my head immediately," she says in this article in the Fort Dodge Messenger. "Amazingly enough, the playwright's 'voices' sound very much like the ones I heard in my childhood. I grew up in Missouri and the Ozarks was our stomping ground."

Okay, so that last part is kind of embarrassing. But I'm thrilled she feels that way because I really worked hard to capture the real, honest-to-goodness people who live in that beautiful area, instead of the "hillbilly" stereotype that so many plays and TV shows seem to be satisfied with.

Many playwrights say that they hear the voices of their characters in their heads, and that writing a play is just a matter of dictating those voices to paper. Well, I haven't always experienced that--I sweat over every line of dialogue I write--but I have to admit it did come easier with this play than any of my others.

If you'd like to hear some of those voices for yourself, order a copy of the script here.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Babka Without Borders is now available

Another school year, another release of one of my plays. And I couldn't be more excited.

This time it's Babka Without Borders, my lucky thirteenth play with Pioneer Drama Service. Here's the blurb:
What's babka, you ask? Only the tastiest, most delectable pastry in the world... and a key ingredient in this hysterical, fast-paced farce that's loaded with physical humor and a bit reminiscent of The Grand Budapest Hotel. Oh, did we mention that the babka becomes an aerial assault weapon that sparks an international war? You see, The Harmony Cafe could be any quaint European bistro if it weren't for one thing: an international border runs smack dab through the middle of it! One half of the cafe is in the Grand Duchy of Bunkelburg; the other half is located in the Royal Principality of Primwick. Luckily, the cafe serves the world's best babka, and Hildegard and her staff somehow manage all the multiple border crossings and red-tape to serve their delicious, sweet coffee cakes and keep the peace. But because the Duchess of Bunkelburg secretly entered and won Primwick's annual babka baking contest, the Prince of Primwick closes the border, making restaurant operations near impossible. But once that slice of babka goes flying across the border and hits a Primwickian patriotic zealot... well, now it's all-out war! It's hard to see how even The Harmony Cafe can maintain the peace, let alone stay in business! But with much farcical humor and good fun, the very same pastry that tore the countries apart brings them back together. This large-scale cast tale of love, espionage and the best babka east of the Danube goes to show there are no boundaries for good taste!
I made this one as easy to produce as possible--one set, flexible cast (8M/11F/2E plus doubling and extras) and minimal technical requirements. This gives directors freedom to focus on the physical comedy, which is where the heart of the play really lies.

For complete information including a script sample, click here.

Unfortunately, this release means I'm going to have to apologize to school custodians all over again. This is my third play which involves a kind of food fight (see also this one and this one).

But hey, tossing a few pastries around is a great way to make your audiences hungry for those valuable concessions. And really, who doesn't love a good babka?