Drama Competition

Warning Shots: A short monologue for young actors

What is this! Two blog posts in one week. What is this madness?

Well it’s been a productive week so far, in fact there may be another blog coming this week as well. You’ll just have to wait around and see won’t you?

Now, to get to the point of today’s posting. A couple of years ago, I saw an opportunity to write a short piece inspired by the American Civil War for a production in Washington DC. In response, I wrote Warning Shots. It is a dramatized retelling of the two attacks on Lawrence, KS before and during the Civil War; the first by “Border Ruffians” (pro-slavery supporters) the second by Confederate leader William Quantrill. In this monologuWare, a young girl named Aella (which means “whirlwind” in Greek and was the name of an Amazon warrior in Greek mythology) witnesses these attacks and tells her story and what she learned.

Warning Shots was performed originally by the EMU Theater company in Lawrence, KS in November of 2015 to great response. Since then, it has kind of sat on my shelf. But I recently asked the daughter of a friend to perform it for a recording. I then “sweetened”the recording and present it to you now.

Warning Shots performed by Jocelyn Goodwin, directed by William J Goodwin, produced and mixed by Everett Robert.

If you would like a copy of Warning Shots you can find it on my Scripts page, at New Play Exchange, or feel free to contact me directly. I am offering this script, FOR FREE to students, schools, and community theaters.

New Year, New Goals, New Shows

2016 has come to a close and 2017 has begun. In the past I’ve talked about how I’ve wanted to spend the new year blogging more, writing more, producing more content. I think I write a variation of this blog every year. this year, the goals are the same; blog more, write more, create more content.

Lets look at what I’ve written in the past year though. I adapted my play  #JohnDoe from podcast format to stage format and had it performed by my local theater, Hays Community Theater, in late April/early May. You can watch these (not very well recorded but still) performances on my YouTube page.

In late May/early June I worked on three new short plays; The Suicide Club (based on a story by Robert Louis Stevenson), A Knack For Living (a play set in the old west), and Moonlight (based on The Moonlight Road by Ambrose Bierce). At least two of these will be performed in the upcoming season of Sherri’s Playhouse, heard on the podcast Chatting With Sherri (the same podcast where Murder At Home and #JohnDoe premiered). In addition, I wrote some new 10-minute plays including Thoughts And Prayers in response to the Orlando shooting in June, which was performed in Kalamazoo, MI.

In December, I started work directing a new play for Sherri’s Playhouse as well, Sherlock Holmes and the Terror By Night Train. I came up with the story, my writing partner wrote the script, and I added in additional material. I’m really proud of this cast and can’t wait to share this story with you. It’s coming January 29th.

What does 2017 hold for me? I’m hoping to get Warning Shots, my monologue for young female actor, into the hands of some students for forensic competitions this year. I’d also like to get Superstar, a 10-minute two-hander, into some students hands as well. Both of these are available here on my website, along with some other free scripts. I’m working on an adaptation of the medieval poem The Owl And The Nightingale,  that I think would make for an interesting contemporary political themed piece.

Other goals include getting #JohnDoe into other theaters, seeing more productions of Tom Sawyer and Allie in Wonderland, getting a production of my adaptation of A Christmas Carol and continue writing about the arts and arts advocacy as needed.

So here is to more blogging, more writing, more content creation in 2017 (it probably won’t happen by the way 😉 )

Wednesdays With Will (Thursday edition): Shakespeare High

I apologize for not posting a Wednesdays with Will recently or on time, as this weekly blog is probably my favorite of the week, but I’ve had several things going on recently that have prevented me from writing. However now things are slowly getting back on track.

This week, I’m going to review a Shakespeare film that is different then my previous Wednesday with Will reviews. This week I’m tackling a documentary, not about Shakespeare but about how Shakespeare and the arts have an influence on high school students.

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Shakespeare High poster

Shakespeare High looks at the California High School Shakespeare Festival and several schools that participate in it. If you, look me, were unfamiliar the Shakespeare Festival is a competition between high schools who are limited to present a full Shakespearean play condensed and abridged into 8-minute increments. Students are not given or allowed costumes or props other then 4 chairs, the competition picks 3 Shakespearean plays, and the schools field 3 teams (one for each play) of 4 students each. The students are allowed to interpret the plays however they wish, either classic or modern reinterpretation. Think a forensics competition that is focused solely on The Bard mixed with The Reduced Shakespeare Company (in fact Austin, Adam, Daniel, Jess, and Adam, etc that founded or make up the RSC get a nice little shout-out when a group of students perform the Othello rap),

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some of the students featured in Shakespeare High

This is an engaging documentary showing students from all walks of life, like inner city ethnic students to an all girls Catholic school to middle class white kids who still have their own problems and how the arts have shaped and changed these kids for better.We also follow them through the competition and feel their joy as they win or the pain as they lose.

Included are interviews with four famous actors who participated in this competition when they were in high school. Interviews include Kevin Spacey (Seven, The Usual Suspects, Superman Returns), Val Kilmer (Tombstone, Batman Forever, Real Genius), Richard Dryfuss (Jaws, Mr. Holland’s Opus), and Mare Winningham (St. Elmo’s Fire, Hatfield’s and McCoys, Swing Vote) and how their participation in this competition shaped them as actor. One of the best moments is when Spacey and Winningham attend their (along with Kilmer’s) Alma mater and give advice and encouragement.

One flaw in the movie, in my opinion, is that it touches on but never fully explores the issue of modernizing vs traditional explorations of interpreting Shakespeare. This is a discussion that I’ve had with some of my actor and writer friends and I don’t think we’ve ever reached an agreement. I view myself as a modernist who enjoys a different setting for the Bard’s works. However I see the argument for keeping the traditional, classical interpretation of Shakespeare. However this is a broad topic and could be explored in its own full length documentary. However if the subject is not going to be more fully explored, it shouldn’t be brought up.

Overall I recommend this fascinating and educational documentary which is currently streaming on Netflix.