On my fortieth birthday I decided to write only comedy. I began doing stand-up and found I was drinking too much so wrote a satire on the publishing industry entitled HAPPILY PUBLISHED, produced twice, the second time under the title FEEDING THE BEST, which was brought to the boards my Marco Zarattini of the Nucleo Eclettico. That year he had been tragically ousted from his theatre and produced the play at the Boston Center for the Arts, Boston. With this play I discovered my humor was more English than American because the theatre rocked with laugher the night a coach load of English tourists attended.
Interestingly, I had a similar ‘cultural appreciation’ experience with GODS AND GODDESSES when an African American audience loved my portrayal of the wicked priest. See more about that play below.
My next attempt at comedy was CHRONIC COMPETITION, also produced at Boston Center for the Arts, directed by Geralyn Horton.
BMy next comedy was CHRONIC COMPETITION, also produced at Boston Center for the Arts, directed by Geralyn Horton.
Boston is a town famous for its marathon and I witnessed many friends and one relative flash past the finish line in various stages of exhaustion and at least one runner risk their lives finishing the race. I became interested in this addiction to adrenalin as a metaphor for society and wrote about the competitive element in English and American societies.It was an attempt to write pure comedy in the English style with an underlying criticism of the eighties and nineties. It was satisfying to predict the laughs in this character and physical based comedy. Rae Shell in London directed a wonderful reading at The Tricylce Theatre in London, but unfortunately no one seemed inclined to champion this play and its subversive message, although on the poster it does say, Chronic Competition, Love and Laughter are the only cure! Many thanks to Nathan Osgood in London, who stayed through many readings and the stars of the Boston production, Joe Benn, Jason Myatt and E. Grace Noonan.
Later I wrote a second part or a sequel to this play which continues the theme more pointedly. I took as my model, Winter’s Tale, which I also think begins with envy of the wife and undirected, unwarranted male anger towards her which can only be the result of frustration. I want to thank John Turner of the Revolution Theatre Chicago for that reading entitled A Stupid Man.
After borrowing the plot of Winter’s Tale for Chronic Competition, I borrowed Shakespeare’s poetry for my play Nuncle, a prequel to King Lear.
One of the most fun plays I’ve ever written, or not written, was NUNCLE, a play composed of Shakespeare’s lines – how’s that for chutzpah? But I followed what I thought were tendencies in Shakespeare who made many references to father daughter incest. NUNCLE is a prequel to King Lear, set on an island in the Carribean he is governing as a Duke, before he became King. See pictures above. It was shown at the Brighton Festival.
God and Goddesses
My next comedy Gods and Goddesses, was originally called Fantail Doves which is an old English name for whores. Incorporated into the play was a one-act which had never seen the light of day, Suicide Queens, and a one-act called Saturday Night. The main plot is an expose of a vicar in the Church of England who is selling off his church for a nightclub, based in Brighton. Paul Chi wrote a theme song, We’re All Gods and Goddesses.
To listen to the theme songTo listen to the theme song composed by Paul Chi, click:
Above are the lovely ladies from Brighton who ‘read’ the play for me.
The production of Gods and Goddesses at Gloucester’s West End Theatre, which was run by the multi-talented Gordon Baird, was well-received especially by an African American audience who enjoyed the story, set in Brighton England, of the crooked priest.