Break a leg to Belmont High School in Belmont, NH, as they produce my play, A Family Reunion to Die For, this weekend.
Break a leg to all the performers at Christian Life School in Kenosha, WI, as they produce my play, A Family Reunion to Die For, November 20 and 21.
Break a leg to all the students and staff involved in Fort Lupton High School’s production of my play, A Family Reunion to Die For. Their production opened on Wednesday and runs through this afternoon at the school in Fort Lupton, CO.
The Fort Lupton Press ran an article on the production’s audition process which I find quite interesting.
Take a peek: Murder mystery takes stage at Ft. Lupton H.S.
Pittsville High School in Pittsville, WI, will perform my play, An All You Can Murder Buffet, this weekend. Break a leg to everyone involved!
Westwood Community School in Sloan, IA, will perform my play, Murderous Night at the Museum, this weekend. Break a leg to all students involved.
Warm wishes to everyone involved in Holcomb High School’s production of my play, A Family Reunion to Die For, this weekend in Holcomb, KS.
Break a leg to everyone at Reeths-Puffer High School in Muskegon, MI, as they perform my play, A Family Reunion to Die For, this weekend.
Break a leg to everyone involved in Emporia High School’s production of my play, A Family Reunion to Die For, which runs tonight through November 8.
The school (located in Emporia, KS) has a nice article about the production in their online newspaper.
Take a look: Theatre Department Prepares for First Show
There’s also an article about the production in the Emporia Gazette. The school is presenting the play as a dinner theatre production with a western themed menu of sloppy joes and baked potatoes to match the play’s setting. That’s a clever idea.
You can find the article here: Dinner and a show
Also (for the first time that I’ve ever seen) their logo features my name first. My name is normally listed after my brother, Matt’s, because of alphabetical order. I’m really digging this production!
One of the neat things about Eldridge Publishing (the company that publishes my play, Offed at the Bake-Off) is that they feature a playwright’s question and answer page for each of their new plays. They asked my brother, Matt, and I to answer a few questions to go along with the promotional materials for the play.
Take a look at the page: Behind the Scenes
The full text of the page is below:
MATT and MIKE STEELE talk about OFFED AT THE BAKE-OFF:
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO WRITE THIS PLAY?
We wrote this play for a high school that had been producing our murder mystery comedies for several years. Our past few mysteries had very non-traditional settings, and we were eager to return to the classic “dark and stormy night” since it’s an iconic and easily identifiable format. We still wanted to give the play a little bit of a twist, so we decided to push the formula and spoof the 1950’s television sitcom while retaining elements of the classic film noir style. This was our first time writing a piece specific to a time period, and we had a blast researching the era.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PART OR LINE OF THE PLAY?
Matt: My favorite moments are whenever Carolyn whips out a new weapon. I just love how she suddenly switches from a calm and collected hotel manager to a hysterical and paranoid warrior when she feels the rabid seagull is near. I also always laugh out loud whenever Sister Mary Martha mentions Father Abraham and when Thelma introduces herself and her sisters because the name “Blanche” seems so random when paired with Thelma and Velma.
Mike: I have two favorite moments. The first is when Paul enters wearing the nun’s habit and is then revealed a short time after. The second is when Clyde throws pies in the faces of practically everyone onstage, one by one. I can imagine audiences having some really great reactions to these scenes. In school productions, especially, I picture the families and friends of the casts laughing as they watch the events unfold, and I can see the casts having tons of fun rehearsing these moments. I mean, who wouldn’t laugh at a bunch of kids pieing each other in the face?
WHERE DO THE CHARACTERS COME FROM? ARE THEY BASED ON PEOPLE YOU KNOW?
When we write, we just let our imaginations run wild. We brainstorm character types together and shout things like, “Let’s have a nun!” “Let’s have a fitness model!” “Let’s have an elderly couple!” (At least, we “shout” at each other via text and instant message, because we live on opposite coasts and collaborate mostly apart from each other.) After we settle on the basic characters, we think of ways to give each character a funny twist. Our conversations turn into, “Let’s make the nun a practical jokester!” “Let’s make the fitness model a silent European!” “Let’s make the elderly couple hard of hearing!” Our characters continue to evolve as we flesh out a few drafts. For example, when it came to Paul and Pauline, we started off with the basic idea of having a couple with a newborn baby who never stopped crying. Something seemed to be missing in their relationship dynamic, and they needed more conflict between them, so that’s when we came up with the idea to make Paul a misogynist (which makes his reveal in Sister Mary Martha’s habit even more fun). We don’t name the characters until the script is virtually complete so that the characters exist before a name can define them. It’s amazing how much more layered the characters become from the first draft to the last draft.
WHAT DID YOU TRY TO ACHIEVE WITH THIS PLAY?
Since we wrote this play with student actors in mind, our main goal was to give the performers a chance to have fun. The more fun the actors have on stage, the more fun the audience has watching the show. We purposely made our characters and situations as off-the-wall as possible so young actors would be forced to commit to their roles and to what’s happening in the story. We wanted to create characters that young actors could easily understand so they would have confidence in their portrayals and really shine onstage. We believe that introducing theater to young people builds their confidence, improves their social skills, and provides great memories that can stay with them for the rest of their lives.
ANYTHING ELSE YOU’D LIKE TO SAY?
Beware of the rabid seagull…