The premiere of “Meds, the Mini-Musical,” my first stage musical, will be at the end of this month. As the title suggests, it’s a very modest effort. There are only two songs, and neither is longer than a minute-and-a-half. The entire thing will run about 10 minutes. It’s one of a series of six, original short plays being produced as a fundraiser for a local hospice organization.
The same organization did the same sort of show last year, and I wrote a play for that, too. That one was set in a bus station. This year, I wrote the prequel. It’s also set in a bus station.
I hate bus stations. So why do I write plays about them? Because I hate them.
The one I wrote last year isn’t a musical, though, and adding music has been an interesting twist on the process of writing a play and watching it go into production. Despite how short the two songs are, I had to teach myself how to use a sheet music writing program. At a table reading, where the actors and director sit and read the lines, the male lead sang his solo to piano accompaniment coming from my laptop. He graduated with a degree in Music. He made my song sound good.
The story is this: 24-year-old Vincent and his mother are waiting for a bus. We learn that the pair are traveling to a clinic where a drug trial is being conducted. Vincent, you see, suffers from debilitating trances during which he believes himself to be in musicals. Hallusicals, he calls them. These episodes prevent him from holding a job or moving out of his mother’s apartment. In addition, when he goes into a trance, he stares — sometimes, at attractive women.
These hallusicals are far more interesting than real life, so Vincent hasn’t been taking the meds given to him for the drug trial. Mom’s not happy about this. Neither is the attractive stranger at whom Victor starts staring . . . and with whom he starts singing a duet. (The audience is allowed access to his hallusicals.) In the end, the woman being stared at by Vincent makes it clear he’d better snap out of it. Sensing he’s losing all grasp of reality, he decides that it’s time for him to start taking his meds. Vincent “turns a corner” in life — in keeping with the theme for all of the six plays: “Just Around the Corner.”