As a playwright you hope for a “magical moment” where the stars are aligned, fate takes control, and your play is featured as the headline on every newspaper because of a moose smuggling scandal. Sadly my play, Economically Viable, on the Rodey stage in the upcoming Words Afire festival at UNM, has no such scandal. A brilliant cast, director, and crew means there will be no disgrace for me. A playwright wants a good embarrassment because a scandal is like a train wreck, something you have to see for yourself.
If only the cast members were caught taking the actor’s equivalent of steroids (usually ginkgo biloba) instead of using their natural talents and hard work. Or if my acclaimed director, Kevin R. Elder, smuggled illegal Australian workers to build the set, instead of having a really cool set designer. Maybe my immaculate attention to detail stage manager, Matthew Lee, could be caught as the leader of a cult after lacing the Kool-Aide with Keva Juice Emergen-C mistakenly packaged in a box of Rat Poison. Or better yet, church groups could protest my show when they discover a contemporary comedy about a man deciding to take up bounty hunting, is really filled with Satanic messages directed towards their CHILDREN!! (However due to a typo, the messages turned out to be Stanic messages and created awkward moments like this:)
Teacher: Now we are going to tell each other about our heroes! Timmy, you go first.
Timmy: Stan is my hero! He told me to bury my sister’s dolls up to their necks in the backyard.
Teacher: That’s a lame hero Timmy. F.
Timmy runs away crying.
Senator: Now I know why kids are doing poorly in school. It’s those “arts.” We better cut funding.
Yes, woe are the days where a playwright has a funny show, with a stellar cast, and a fantastic crew with little to no controversy. If the year was only 1952 instead of 2010… At least in 1952 if I took a comical look into couple going through a divorce spawned from economic pressure, I would be arrested and tried by McCarthy as a communist. Instead I have a supportive theatre department faculty and program helping me with the crowning achievement of my time as an MFA student. Thanks a whole lot! I could be on Hollywood’s blacklist right now! Maybe even rotting in a federal prison for pursuing things like “art.” How else will people come see the play? Simply directing them to the Words Afire Website for show times may not be enough. I should start hiring illegal Australian workers now.