Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Belmont diary: Bringing Down the House to be published

Great news! I just received a contract from Pioneer Drama Service for my backstage comedy, Bringing Down the House. You know what that means. It's going to be published! For those keeping score at home, this is my 24th play with Pioneer and 27th play overall.

I've said so much about the development of this play already that I don't know what else to say except I couldn't be happier. This far into my playwriting career, I'm still extremely grateful for every single publication.

Especially this one. Sure, it had a couple of advantages going for it. First, it was written on commission, so I knew that it met at least one school's needs. And second, it has been through the grind of a rehearsal and production cycle, allowing me to work out the bugs before submitting the script to Pioneer.

But still, it's a bit of an oddball. It's my first play with a swordfight, except that it actually has two, one with actual swords, one with protest signs and sledgehammers (plastic, of course). It's also my first play with a dance number, although I leave the music and choreography entirely up to you.

So yeah, I took some big swings with this one, but I think it paid off. This is one of my funniest plays by far. And every one of the 38--count 'em 38!--actors in the show will not only get a laugh but a meaty role to bite into.

I shared a scene a few months ago when I finished the final draft. That scene, however, was from the middle of the play, so let me now entice you with the opening scene.


AT RISE: The Edgar Street Theatre, morning. JERRY, DALE, MERLE, and HARLEY ENTER LEFT carrying four crates to add to the four already onstage. JERRY and DALE set their crates down.

JERRY: All right. I think that's the last of the dynamite.

DALE: Wow. Eight crates. Are you sure we need this much?

JERRY: Of course, we need it. We're not doing a fireworks show here. We're bringing down this building!

DALE: Fireworks show! Ha ha! Oh, Jerry! You kill me! You really kill me!

MERLE (Sets his crate down gently.): Slowly... slowly... (HARLEY sets his crate down with a crash.)

JERRY: Harley! Be careful with that!

HARLEY: But it's heavy!

JERRY: I don't care if it's heavy. Don't you remember your training?

MERLE: How could he remember it? He slept through it.

HARLEY (Remembers fondly.): Best nap I ever had.

JERRY: Yeah, well, you need to start using that brain of yours. Dynamite is dangerous. The slightest movement can set it off.

HARLEY: Oh, right, right. Now I remember.

JERRY: Good. Now let's go get our tools so we can start drilling the holes for the dynamite in these columns.

MERLE: Wait. You mean we're just going to leave the dynamite here?

JERRY: What's the big deal? We're coming right back.

MERLE: I know, but what if someone comes in here and jostles the crates around?

JERRY: Who's going to do that? Nobody's used this building for years.

MERLE: Well, I still think it's dangerous.

JERRY: Oh, yeah? Well, you think too much.

DALE: Hey, Harley! Did you hear that? Jerry says Merle thinks too much and you don't think enough. Maybe if you put your brains together, you'd think the right amount!

JERRY: And you talk too much.

DALE: Aw, come on, Jerry. I was just appreciatin' your humor.


If you want to see more, including the synopsis, cast breakdown, and a 20-page sample, you can visit the play's page on the New Play Exchange.

I guarantee you'll get a real "bang" out of it.

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