I have done a lot of public speaking in my day. From 1985 to 1996, public speaking was one of my primary duties in my career as a naval intelligence officer. From 1998 to 2007, it was one of my primary duties working for the Interpretation division in Padre Island National Seashore.
In 1997, when I had been only a short time out of the Navy, I lived in my home town of Frankfort, KY, where I was trying to establish careers as a photographer and a writer. Neither was going anywhere initially, and, long story short, I joined the National Park Service. While living in Frankfort, I happened upon an opportunity to do the head shots for a small, local theater group. I became friends with them and before I knew it, was playing roles in two Tennessee Williams one-act plays, which were performed on the same nights.
The first was the role of the porter in “Portrait of a Madonna“. I did have some dialogue and I seem to recall doing well at the role, though the play ran for only a few nights over twenty years ago. Here is a production by the Chicago Actors Studio, if you would like to see their version. Ours wasn’t taped to my knowledge.
The second role was as Winston Tutwiler, the husband/drunk in “Lord Byron’s Love Letter“. My role consisted almost entirely of sitting on a sofa and being inebriated. I am not certain if I had any dialogue. It was fun though. I drank a considerable amount at that time, so I was a natural to portray a drunk, though I didn’t drink any for the role. If I recall correctly, I portrayed this role before my first appearance in “Portrait of a Madonna”. I was in a hurry to dress in costume before walking out on stage, and being naturally absent-minded, I forgot to zip up my fly! As soon as I made my entrance, I was to head to a sofa and flop down, half-heartedly listening to the other characters. It was then I noticed my fly being open. But realizing that this is not an uncommon occurrence among drunks, I stayed in character and blatantly zipped up as if it had been planned all along. I think I got a few giggles out of the audience. Here’s one performance of it. I don’t know who is performing in this video. My role was that of the guy in the green shirt.
I found acting to be a lot of fun. I would love to do it again. The stage is really quite addicting. That’s probably why I have become fascinated recently with writing plays.
I have completed two small plays and I am currently working on two more.
The two completed ones are adaptations of my previously published short stories “Murder by Plastic” and “The Last Sane Man“. Both should be around ten minutes on stage. I am looking now for somewhere to have them produced.
The next up in length is one called “Incommunicado”. I have developed a different vision for it than I have had previously. I conceived of it maybe a year or two ago. It was originally about a man named Quinn Gallagher (yes, the same Quinn Gallagher as in my short stories “The Scent” and “The Slightest of Indiscretions”). In this play, Quinn has gone off to a ghost town in New Mexico’s Gila Mountains to write and celebrate being able to drink again after being on the wagon for a year after a DUI. He intends to stay drunk for the weekend. However, he finds he has enjoyed being sober, and this conflicts with his desire to drink again to escape life’s problems. One way is easy but ultimately self-destructive, while the other means tough self-discipline, but is ultimately more productive and rewarding. I originally thought of this more of an extended soliloquy, though I see now that I will have to bring in one or two of the local townspeople to add action and bring in more perspectives. I hope to have this play last about thirty minutes. I am shooting to have this done by the end of May.
The last and longest play I am working on is entitled “Centaurs”. It is about a man and a woman who are having an affair. Both are married intellectuals, but they find their intellectual sides conflicting with their animalistic desires. They have decided to keep this relationship purely physical, but they find themselves falling in love. I intend for this play to be about 90 minutes in length and be three acts with a lot of audience involvement.
I will try to update this website regularly about my stage work.