04 February 2011

All The World's a Stage

As you may know I have been helping my father-in-law in a social marketing capacity and am on Facebook constantly. Well a month or so ago while perusing Facebook on behalf of the agency, I saw that a local online magazine, Elk Grove Monthly, was looking for a theater critic to write reviews on high school drama productions. I enjoy writing and am no stranger to the arts or adjudication, so I emailed to volunteer for the unpaid position. They wrote back! and requested a write up of a fictitious play in 300 words or less.

I was stumped at first, but I knew where to find inspiration. When my brother, Matt, and I were little we would play a game in church - I would draw a series of simple shapes on a piece of paper and hand it over to Matt, at which point he would draw this elaborate scene of monsters and pirate ships from my ovals and squiggly lines. Then we'd switch and I would make houses and ostriches out of his squares and circles. He was the superior creative genius! So when asked for a fictitious play, I wrote to Matt and said, "Quick! Off the top of your head, give me the plot of a fictitious play." He wrote back several sentences about a boy turned con artist who wanted to be reincarnated as a mountain. It was good - like Catch Me If You Can meets Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.

His plot, like the shapes of yore, inspired me to write my critique on "C@ught in Act Five" my fictitious play (taking place in the high school I will be reviewing):

Zip up your backpacks, slam those lockers, and give the dial an extra spin. There’s a thief at Franklin High!

C@ught In Act Five, is an original Franklin High production of stealth, thievery, and unspoken adoration. Since Monday last, items have sporadically disappeared from desks, supply closets, and glass cases alike. Even Principal Phinizy’s office isn’t safe! Seven stolen items have been documented, one for each day of school since Winter Break.

Surprisingly, there appears to be no correlation of motive between the recorded stolen objects: the undelivered love note (read: epic novel) written by mathlete Janie Forsight (played by Marianne Xu) to football captain Torin Jockens (played by Kyle Sternworth), a microscope from the science wing, 50 gallons of molding clay from the art room, the swim team’s first place trophy, and all the PE locker dials. However, today when it was discovered that Ms. Phinizy’s (played by herself) personal cell phone was stolen, the well of accusations and lost item claims exploded. Patrick Miner (played by Tom Smith), Janie’s best friend, is determined to use his keen observational skills and the X-Files Crime Lab Kit he received as a Christmas present to solve this mystery and return said epic novel to it’s rightful owner.

While this original script, written by the Mrs. Peavey’s sophomore drama class, may have a predictable ending, you will find the acting by main characters Smith and Xu to be exceptional. Their emotion and humor added to simple lines bring the puzzling plot to a climax, ending in a “high noon” style quick draw - of cell phone texts! With plenty of drama and high school staff appearances, this Franklin High whodunit is not to be missed!

I got the gig and I am now listed as a staff writer on Elk Grove Monthly Magazine's website! I will be reviewing the performances of the Franklin Theater Association, starting with Les Mis in March! Performances are March 17, 18, 19, 24, 25, 26 at 7:00 P.M. and matinees on March
19 & 26 at 2:00 P.M. You should come! If you're out of town, I'll post pictures because it's supposed to be fantastic with a gigantic cast and crew!