Sunday, April 24, 2011

Inspector General Released

My playwriting mentor Dennis Reardon once wrote that adaptors are like the Rosie Ruizes of playwriting. Rosie Ruiz, you may recall, was that marathon runner who entered the 1980 Boston Marathon from a crowd of spectators half a mile from the finish line and then claimed to have run the whole thing, setting all kinds of world records.

My career as a playwright began in 1985, when I won a Young Fellowship at the Sundance Institute for my one-act The Color of Time. Ah, the sweet bird of youth, how soon it is flown, yadda yadda. My play was performed at the Salt Lake Acting Company, with which over the years I had a great relationship. I've written maybe twelve-one acts, ten shorter pieces, and seven full-length original plays. They have all been performed in Equity, semipro or academic theatres. I have also done three adaptations, and apart from some smaller pieces, the only things I've managed to get published are the adaptations.

My adaptation of Gogol's The Inspector General is out from Carnegie Mellon University Press. Here it is:

I don't take Dr. Reardon's words lightly - adaptors walk a fine moral line. After all, it's not as if I can claim to have devised this excellent piece of satire, nor walked the road of fire that Gogol did to get it premiered, a road which would eventually lead to a fatal mortification of self, and religious suicide. The most important aspect of comedy, however, as everyone knows, is timing, and comic pieces get stale quickly. I think something I have some limited talent for is recovering the funny and resetting comedy in a new context that transmits the same old message more effectively than the original can anymore. It's the difference, maybe, between being a painter and being a restorer of old masterpieces. What I want is for people to perform this play and have their audiences come away saying "That Gogol was a great writer, wasn't he?"

So, maybe, um, we're more like the, uh, guys in a marathon who pick up a fallen runner and help her across that new finish line that keeps moving further and further away.

I really want to thank Cynthia, Jerry, and Sarah; my awesome awesome hilarious editors at the press.

Please, read and enjoy.

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