Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Fifth Time's the Charm

If Saturday Night Live can have a five-timers club, then maybe I should too.

I'm kidding, of course, but the thought recently crossed my mind because I got word that Johnston Heights Church in the Vancouver, BC suburb of Surrey has booked a fifth play of mine.

We've had a long, fruitful relationship going all the way back to 2014, when the church's drama group produced The Butler Did It! They found it the old-fashioned way, by searching the Pioneer Drama Service website. Their production was such a hit that after it was over, Carol A., who oversees the play selection there, asked me to recommend another play.

At the time, I was trying to get a second production of Kill the Critic! so I sent her that, not really believing that a church would be interested in my naughty farce. They weren't, but Carol did think it was hilarious.

So I sent her a play that Pioneer had just published, Million Dollar Meatballs. That one was perfect for them and became play number 2.

In 2017, Carol emailed me again, asking what else I could send her. I'd directed a wildly successful world premiere of The Last Radio Show the year before but was unable to get any publishers interested in it. Carol decided to take it on, and they gave it an equally successful second production. So successful, in fact, that she said the church was shaking from all of the laughter.

Last year, they went one step further. They presented the world premiere of Lights! Camera! Murder! (changing the name to Lights! Camera! Action! so it wouldn't raise eyebrows when seen on the church's marquee).

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to make it out there for the show, but they sent me a video of it so I could gauge the response and use that to punch up the script.

Which brings us to this year. On my suggestion, they decided to go back to my published plays and selected The Purrfect Crime.

More important than the plays, however, is the money that this vibrant, missions-oriented church has been able to raise through these productions. Every year, they choose one local charity to donate a large chunk of their proceeds to. One year it was a homeless shelter. Another year, it was a group supporting Syrian refugees.

So yeah, I'm thrilled that they like my plays. But I'm even more thrilled to know that they're using my plays to make life a little easier for people in need.

Keep up the great work, guys! Would you have any interest in a pirate play...?

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