Wrestling the imagination out of my head is what I’m doing when I write a play. It is a gargantuan task to do that, by the way, and I carry no pretense of inborn ability. Like any other craft, playwriting takes years of finding just the right blend of failure, enthusiasm and discipline. I have many years ahead of me.
All the same, I have some years behind me too. My high school plays were necessary failures of emotional depth far beyond my grasp (my first play, Mortality Men, is about three senior World War I veterans facing… well… their mortality). The plays of my 20s explored more relatable themes of heartbreak and friendship, while my 30s are presenting some complicated ideas. Family, faith, citizenship, heritage, a constant struggle of identity. Who am I as an artist and a person? What do I want to accomplish? How do all these intersect or disengage? Before the pandemic I was hellbent-for-leather on “making it” as an actor. Now? I love having nights and weekends to hang out with my spouse, play with my dog, fix up the house or write a play.
There certainly have been a number of plays since those high school days. Even more ideas. Stories that have only existed in my head, living inside for years, waiting to be wrestled out of there. Meanwhile, I’ve been standing pat waiting for enough free time to roll up my sleeves… These past two years have given me that time. In the absence of acting, I’ve morphed more and more into the playwright I’ve always wanted to be. Sure, I’ve always been writing something, but now I’m resolved to pay proper heed to my own stories (or at least get out ’em out of my head… I only have so much brain space!)
2022 is the year I wrestle the imagination out of my head. Not without help, of course, and I’m beyond grateful to those willing to lend a hand. I’m already looking forward to another production of Frankenstein this fall at Oil Lamp Theater and Sharknami: The Musical? this summer in Florida. These two plays, in particular, have taken entire villages to pull into the real world. It is an incredible feeling.
Beyond what’s already cooking, I have a loaded back burner of marked-up legal pads… ideas of workshops and readings… one fun idea I have is revisiting my older scripts for anything worth mining. A romantic comedy of mine called Looking for Fun(bags), for example, is one of those plays you write in your 20s about lost love and crappy roommates. Fun(bags) actually saw several of years various productions. Considering this success while realizing the momentum is now passed, I’ve decided to self-publish the script.*
The imagination of Fun(bags), Frankenstein and Sharknami have been wrestled into the real world; now I want all my other stories live outside of my head (and Google Drive).
*P.S. With an urge to defend something that doesn’t need defending… self-publishing is hard. Many days and expletives were spent editing and formatting this beast. I’m proud of this play and excited to make it available!