Writing for WWSS5 proved to be no different in terms of challenge and ingenuity. As we rode home in the cab, this time I had my arms full of Thomas, disabling my chance to brainstorm. Though of course my mind was flying.
We were met with the parameters (mine being) children’s show writer being one occupation. Boxing Day being an event or theme to which the characters related, and finally the line:“Why are you being such a _____________. You're __________________, _____________________ and _______________________ - or so my therapist says.”
I had a good varied group of actors. Two who I knew well (Michael M. had done Christine’s Importance of Being Earnest, so I was well acquainted with his talents & Cara Picone had done Ragtime with me in Brooklyn Heights a few years ago – so I was even more so familiar with her personality, talents, and voice). I’d seen the other two (Dani & Blaine) audition before so I had a brief approximation of their skills as well.
Setting out to write I thought of several scenarios:
- Complete mental breakdown by the writer.
- Character stuck in a lodge during the ‘Boxing Day Blizzard’
- Concert to give back to the poor (the origin of boxing day)
I came up with the lessened version of scenario #1 as it seemed the best fit to my current mindset. I knew Dani had an aircast on so she became my bedridden, conflicted wife. I knew Cara could sing to the heavens so she was my miscreant #1. I knew Michael was a bit zany so he became miscreant #2. I’d seen Blaine audition, so he was my straight man. I think the casting was right on.
From there I just went for the humor. Sex, dick, fart jokes abound. Silliness. I’d randomly hum tunes and ask Christine what the song was and they’d make it into the show.
I sincerely hoped the cast was having fun and only when Christine got a text from Michael saying :
Michael McKeogh: I think so. Thanks for checking in. PS. Michael can kiss my ass.
And Cara: Cara Picone: I’m a little scandalized that I have to pleasure a walking cane in front of my parents.
I knew then they figured out the absurdity but still went for it completely.
Andy Travis (Director) added some great touches to the script and I think had a blast as well.
Watching show #1 is a bit premature. Its like the most stressful dress rehearsal. You pray for laughter, cohesion, and lightness. And it happens. Even after having acted in this once, I’m still awed in how great the actors do.
Show #2 is the icing on the cake. It grooves, it melds, it flows. They get the laughs, the audience is drunker, the fun of the piece shines through.
All in all a great experience, strong scripts, good time with old talent and new, and a lingering doubt that I might not wear this hat again.
Oh. And a special shout out from Nina Capone (director):
Nina Capone to Michael Weems on facebook (put on here at Nina's request): best line of the night: "Why can't you love me from the front?!" by Michael Weems.... hilarious...