This last week, I took a short break from my current occult detective obsession to write a short stage play for a local playwriting contest. The six contest winners–who needn’t be local–will have their works performed in a fundraiser for a hospice organization. The trick is to reflect the play festival’s theme of “Affirmation of Life” while keeping in mind both the 15-minute limit and the no-budget production. Should anyone be interested, the rules and information are listed on this document for the Judith Karman Festival.
I decided to go with a little heartfelt comedy set in a bus station. Bus stations are a locale I know well–and hate far weller. One day, I’ll tell you about my hatred for bus travel. For now, let me say that I avoided all elements of fantasy in the playlet I wrote. No ghosts. Not even a disappointed ghost-hunter. No marvellous boxes from outer space. Instead, there’s a late-arriving bus. Overpriced snacks. A ticket-counter clerk who isn’t much help at all.
In other words, it’s a work of realism–albeit, comedic realism.
For companionship, I also listened to some audio drama in a comparably comedic-realism vein. Without hesitation, I nudge you toward “We Are Not the BBC” and its sequel, “We Are the BBC.” Both were written by the talented Susan Casanove, who also acts in them. They’re productions of the Wireless Theatre Company, which offers them for free downloading. (In an earlier post, I nudged occult detective fans toward their excellent series The Strange Case of Springheel’d Jack. Wireless is doing a variety of consistently wonderful audio drama!) I have it on good authority that the final installment of the trilogy, titled “We Are Better than the BBC,” is on its way to completion.
The first of the trilogy especially struck a chord with me, since it deals with two worlds I inhabit. An amateur stage drama troupe decides to delve into Internet-age audio drama. The worlds collide when the spotlight–uhm, microphone–is promptly stolen by one troupe member, Rob Sterling Davies. Davies’ ego more than makes up for his lack of talent in the same manner as, say, an aspiring poet might decide that self-destructive habits are a worthy substitute for talent. With the second play, the story moves from spoofing dramatic amateurs to spoofing dramatic professionals. Rob swells into one of those antagonistic protagonists–or protagonistic antagonists–in the tradition of, oh, Macbeth or Dracula or Simon Cowell.
Casanove’s storytelling is engaging and funny. Both Wireless productions, under Jack Bowman’s direction, feature excellent actors (with some surprise appearances) and equally fine musical and technical artists. You can consider this a friendlier than usual nudge in their direction.
Not at all the kind of nudges one gets while boarding a bus. One day, I’ll tell you about my hatred for bus travel…