Do you have a white whale? An elusive beast that rises to the surface ever so briefly, exposing its sleek, oily head to taunt you?
I have such a whale, my friends. And it is scheduled to reach the surface again on Tuesday, 5/22 at 9pm. I'll need your help to catch it.
The play is called The Majestic Players Storm Kansas City. It's a blend of Noises Off and Dog Day Afternoon. It's about a group of traveling theater players that is really a gang of robbers. They go from city to city doing their plays and mid-way through each performance they stop the show, take out weapons, and rob the audience.
I've had this idea since I was a small child. I remember seeing a magician on stage once who asked for a volunteer and then took the volunteer's wallet. He didn't give it back. He just took it! I think this was at Six Flags. I must have been six. I remember thinking about what his life must be like: living in a trailer full of wallets with a pet possum and a trunk of magic tricks. A sad life. But also a life where he gets to perform everyday before hundreds of people, which ain't nothing.
Also, there was one day in 5th grade where my school had some kind of Renaissance festival and there was a a man in a court jester costume going around juggling. He had these tight, tight leggings of purple and gold. He was a plump fellow of 50. He was not a parent. He was not a volunteer. He was a professional jester and these were his threads. It was traumatizingly sad. Nobody wanted to be near him. Some kids laughed at him, but most knew to just look away.
At the end of the day I saw him getting into his volvo. It was full of boxes. And then a kid came out and hugged him. His kid was in the car and had been waiting all day, watching his dad in this awful costume (probably the only one watching his dad in that costume). I can still hear the sound of my heartbreaking. The thought of being a bad court jester at a 5th grade ren festival and having somebody still love you at the end of the day...that makes me weep even now.
I can't say exactly how these memories have made their way into my play, but they're there somewhere and will hopefully raise their heads to the surface from time to time. Please come and help me catch them. Because when I say I'm after a white whale, I'm not talking about a play. I'm talking about the reason I write them.
The Majestic Players Storm Kansas City
Tuesday, May 22 at 9pm
Ensemble Studio Theatre, 6th Floor
Directed by Colette Robert
Featuring the amazing talents of Steven Boyer, Scott Sowers, Denny Dale Bess, Richmond Hoxie, Amy Staats, Pepper Binkley, Joshua Conkel, Jason Liebman, Kelli-Lynn Harrison, Diana Ruppe, and Eric Dufault.