It has been, now, two weeks since the closing of my first produced play, The Importance of Eating Earnest. I am filled with both a great deal of satisfaction and, dare I say, happiness at its success, but am of course sad that it’s come to an end. Who wouldn’t be? As a writer, my first real success (and hey, I actually got paid for this, though I donated all but a token amount back to Cone Man Running, the production company that put Earnest on… I just wanted to be able to say I was a paid playwright) feels like it should be ongoing. Sadly, it’s come to an end, for now.
Closing night was amazing. After the last performance of my show, and the final performance of Michael Weems and Bryan Maynard’s Give/Take (and equally fantastic and funny show), the cast and crew of both shows closed out the Obsidian Theater and turned it into our own private club, complete with music (“popular” music that I may have tried to change to 90’s rock because no matter how hard I try not to be, I am an old man who gets curmudgeoney with music) and lighting. There was drinking. Quite a bit of it, I think, based on my hazy memories. But I felt that I deserved it. Closing your first play that ran for two weeks (three weekends) calls for a bit of a celebration. It was fun. It was amazing. It was an entirely new experience for me and it exceeded my wildest expectations. And sadly, it’s done.
For now, that is. Earnest may have new un-life as I prepare the “world premier” script to start sending around the country for possibly more performances. And I’ve got two scripts in process, with a rock opera as a grand experiment planned after those. This single play may be over, but the “play,” as a philosophical concept, continues. The show must and will go on.
And of all the things I’ve taken away from this experience, it’s this: I believe I have been adopted, if you will, into the Houston Indie Theater scene. I’ve done some stuff in the past with Cone Man, to be sure, but this one helped forge new connections and – dare I say – the beginnings of a few new friendships. Thanks to a stupid idea about a farce with a zombie I had *grumblegrumble* years ago, I feel welcomed into a new world. A world of crazy theater people who are up for just about anything (including taking on a role with not one single spoken line, as Kamran Taherpour did playing Earnest, the titular, undead character in The Importance of Eating Earnest) is one of the few things that would convince me to reconsider a move back to Houston (I mean, a lot of things would have to come together for that to happen, but in the list of “pros and cons,” the theater scene would be a top pro).
So, to my new, adopted creative family, thank you for rocking so wildly. And to the cast of the World Premier of The Importance of Eating Earnest:
1. Megan, your poor, put-upon, mostly innocent yet slightly racist (xenophobic?) Laura was, much like the best boobs money could buy, perfect.
2. Ruth, you managed to put the “villain” in “Machiavellian” (yeah, it’s not exact, but your portrayal of the manipulative, sexually insatiable Katherine was).
3. Jonathan, for fooling at least my own parents into thinking you actually were British and for managing some amazing comedic timing and expressions.
4. Eddie, for perfectly nailing the pompousness and ignorance of William (I assume you are not a “small penised windbag,” though you played one admirably).
5. Cassandra, for portraying the closest thing to a good character in this play, and being willing to layer on the “apocalyptic bosoms” each show.
6. Bob, for taking on not one, but two completely doomed roles, and mumbling your way through unintelligible Cockney (and to Bryan and Sam for stepping in when you had to deal with some heavy stuff mid-run).
7. Bryan, for the spot-on, BBC documentary narration. And finally,
8. Kamran, for taking on a role that relied on physical humor, expression, nuanced moaning, and no spoken lines, and then defining how Earnest should be played if and when if runs in the future.
To say nothing of Christine Weems for directing those crazy people and finding out how to take my goofy little, gimmicky play and making it a masterpiece. Her tireless wrangling of the actors (and more often than not, getting the show’s lazy-ass writer to turn stuff in) brought it all together.
So my thanks to all these wonderful people, to Cone Man Running for taking the chance on my play, to Obsidian Theater and its tireless tech crew, to Michael Weems for reading the script and offering suggestions, to every actor and actress who took part in the numerous readings, and to every person who came to the show – including Houston-based friends, Fort Worth-based friends, and my awesome and always supportive parents who came down from Naples, NY. Hell, going back even to my first, unsurprisingly zombie-themed short Armageddon Tired of All These Zombies and its amazing cast, Tim, Randi, and Autumn, and director Lauren, I owe you all, and countless more, a debt of gratitude.
Now, on to the next story! Who has some funny stories from Home Owners’ Association meetings?