Seeking Asylum started in Longview, TX
(Originally posted 2017)
I suppose one of the conundrums of my "life as a playwright" is that the play I wrote in the shortest amount of time with no forethought whatsoever has been my most successful full-length play.
I was talking online with a theater teacher in Longview TX, and he said if I could come up with a play in a week that he would probably have his class put it on. He told me who was in the class and who could play what kind of part. Like one guy did good playing "crazy," a couple gals were good playing "Hip Hop," etc.
And he said, I couldn't romantically link up black and white students because their parents would have a fit. So there was that.
So taking all this in hand, I started writing what turned into Seeking Asylum, at about 4 pm on a Sunday, and by 4 pm on the Monday I was finished. Even the end of the play didn't come to me until I got there. I read over the draft every day and on the Friday I sent it to the teacher, who really liked it. He had his class read it and it took them awhile to warm up to it, but they finally "got it" and it was scheduled for that December. Unfortunately, the music teacher hijacked the space and the show didn't get to go on, but I did get the play published and it's been produced more than any other with the exception of a one act Jack, The Beanstalk, and Social Services.
We put it on here in St. Louis, and of course it got a bad review, and then a follow up letter from another writer who agreed with the critic even though he didn't come see the play. This is why, to quote Jade Esteban Estrada, you should "never be local." But OK if someone doesn't like it they don't like it, nonetheless, you might want to come see it first. Or not.
The big point of S.A. is friendship, love, wanting so much to be liked that you make up your whole life and your circle of friends if real ones don't work out. But, in this world, there aren't enough friends and family to go around, so people are stealing friends and parents and going to whatever length to have access.
I suppose to some extent we are all lonely, or masking it.
I've been fortunate enough to see a few productions, including Higginsville and Fayette, MO, one in Udall, KS where the microphone dropped from the ceiling to the stage in the middle of a scene, and I learned... people are having fun so go with it...one in New Bremen, OH. I think there was one more, not sure... Hermann High in MO put it on but I missed it and I hear it was really good. Twice with this play I made the newspaper simply because I showed up.
I always try to be nice and gracious when I go see a play; no one wants the writer to come and be arrogant and whiny. It is an honor to have it be an honor that you are in attendance. if that makes sense....
Here's something too, we use photos from past productions to promote shows, and some of them are back from 2002 and 03, and it's like...wow those kids are probably married with kids of their own now...
What this whole experience got me thinking was "Who needs to think about what you're doing, just write the play, you only need a day." Well... I did that a couple times, one of them's been produced a few times (pen name) and the other is still on my desktop. It's The Eyes of a Dream which I like, maybe someone else will one day.
Seeking Asylum is available at hitplays.com