Friday, January 13, 2012

LAST OF THE BOHEMIANS


So Fenway: Last of the Bohemians, is set to be published online by Indie Theatre Now.

And I dig that.  As soon as it's up, I'll put the link up here.  Of course, you already can go there and buy Last Call, Muse of Fire, Burning the Old man, and Some Unfortunate Hour- all for less than a buck fifty.  

Anyway, below are my author's notes for Fenway.  No doubt, there are names missing that I will add as soon as I get them. 



AUTHOR’S NOTES – The inspiration to write Fenway came on the night that George W. Bush got re-elected.  I was at The Magician, a bar on the Lower East Side of NYC, watching the returns with some friends, and I wondered what happened to all those people from the 1960’s who were supposed to change the world?  Where were those lost idealists and protesters? It seemed like they had all vanished, died, or sold out.  I started to think about how liberalism had seemed to be on the decline in America since about 1980, when Reagan got elected, and how hippies were now pretty much a joke, a mostly forgotten stereotype.  And somehow, I got to thinking about Uncle Vanya.
I have loved the play Uncle Vanya ever since I saw a production of it done at The Western Stage of Salinas directed by my friend Jon Selover.  It’s so funny and sad and pertinent. I remember watching Julian Lopez-Morillas as Astrov in Act Three going on about the shrinking forests and thinking maybe the speech was an insert, penned by a modern writer.  But no, turns out old Anton was an environmentalist.  This particular production was brilliant- fast and furious and thought provoking- not unusual for that theatre company.  If there was one part of the play that I didn’t completely relate to, it was how Vanya was so mad at Serebryakov.  I got that Vanya was in love with the professor’s wife- but there was a deeper sense of betrayal at the professor.  I don’t know if it was that version of the script (Mamet’s), or where I was in my life at the time, but it just didn’t quite click for me.  But then, watching George W. Bush on the screen, it clicked.  Serebryakov was a sell-out, the equivalent of all those people from the 1960’s who had once stood for peace, love and understanding but had decided to instead become staunch defenders of the status quo.  And I could see in my mind’s eye Uncle Vanya set in the 1980’s, during the Reagan Revolution, on an old hippie commune.  Astrov could be a Greenpeace type who works at a methadone clinic, Vanya a burnt out ex-hippie, and Serebyrakov a former radical turned conservative.  Often, when I get an idea for a play, it’s like that.  I see the whole world, and several of it’s characters.  I don’t sleep much, and become sort of annoying to people, as all I can talk about for weeks is the story.  I wrote the first draft quickly.  I would have friends over to read scenes as they were being written- including Jack Halpin, Christine Goodman, Heather McAllister, and Tim McCracken.  I told Tim Errickson about the idea.  He had directed a production of Vanya at Expanded Arts in which I played Astrov, and I knew he would dig it.  He did, and soon there was a reading as part of Boomerang Theatre’s First Flight, and it felt pretty groovy.  Re-writes were done, and another reading/lab was done up at Lincoln Center, using the talents many fine actors, including Julie Congress and Dan O’Neill.   The next draft was given a reading by BeaconNY Productions, and used such talented wonders as Christopher Grabowski, Tara Falk, and Diane Buglewics Foote.   One of the great joys of writing plays is all the talented artists you get to work with- each with a unique perspective that adds to the soul of the show.  I wrote and re-wrote, and the wrote some more.  Many rewrites- with so much help from Lisa that she became co-author- and it was ready for a full production, which happened in the fall of 2006 as a co-production between the Boomerang Theatre Company and Impetuous Theatre Group, with Jack Halpin, Carrie Brewer,
Reyna de Courcy,
Margaret A. Flanagan,James David Jackson,
Tom Knutson,
Paul Navarra and was directed by Tim Errickson.
In 2009, there was a workshop reading of the play at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, in their Black Swan Lab run by Lue Morgan Douthit with a cast that included Gregory Lingington, Richard Howard, Jeffrey King, Derrick Lee Weeden, Terri McMahon, Vilma Silva, Catherine E. Coulson, Miriam A. Laube, Ryan Anderson and Tyrone Wilson.  In early 2010, a reading was given by the Seattle Playwrights Collective directed by Dan Tarker with Alysha Curry, Gene Thorkidsen, Sherry Narens, Gary Estrada, Griffith Kadiner, Dolores Rodgers, and Richard Hawkin.   Several re-writes came about from those two readings, and the version you have is the latest draft, based on all three productions/workshops.


I would encourage people doing this play to seek the comedy as much as possible.  And look up all the songs they mention in the script.  In this day of the interne, Youtube and Google, it is inexcusable to not research all references in a play. 
Enjoy! 

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