One year I had an extremely talented and driven group of drama students who were able t0 go beyond plays for the stage. They made, May I Have Your Attention, Please? into a movie and showed the final product at the Tri-County Cineplex. This was a wonderful way to bring the message to a larger community. I am including a short introductory clip of that production. Special thanks to Principal Allen Storie for his support for the project and to Larry and Sherry Harris for opening their home for the filming. #Theatre4Change
I found this clip while going through tons of saved dvds from my years of being a public school teacher. In this interview which aired as part of the school’s tv news, I talk about the benefits of a class called VPA. I always thought teaching was a natural extension of my love for the arts. This interview will give you a glimpse in to the, “teacher” me. The entire newscast appears in the second video.
The Dinner Club remains one of my favorite full length plays with a running time of 100 minutes. It takes place in Josie’s Red Grill and cast is 4f and 5 m. The video contains a clip from a live performance in 2005 by Knox Central High School. This would be a great dramatic script for a high school, college or community theatre. The play deals with issues of diversity, domestic violence, tolerance and disability awareness. For a limited time, this is a royalty free option. If you are looking for a piece to address any or all of these issues and are on a budget, this may be your answer. Email author@MayIHaveYourAttentionPlease.com for more info. #Theatre4Change
2/7/2017 BOLD SCHOOLS OLIVIA, MN – May I Have Your Attention, Please?
I am always honored to have the message of May I Have Your Attention, Please? spread via the stage. It has been an effective way to reach out to large audiences at one act festivals and community performances. Another way to spread the message that also makes me proud is when teachers decide to use the script as part of their curriculum. This also is a way to reach out to many students and being a former High School teacher, it is a way I can attest to firsthand as effective. So however you spread the message, consider adding the script to your curriculum as yet another way of spreading the message of #Theatre4Change. We’ve reached 25 states, 3 Canadian Provinces and Scotland. Thank you to all who continue to share this message and recommend the play to your friends.
When I get to meet with casts who perform May I Have Your Attention, Please? they often have questions about the inspiration for writing it, the writing process and the most frequently asked question, “How does the videotape get to Charlie.” My inspiration for the play was my own students. It was a new drama program with zero budget to purchase scripts, pay royalties etc so I just custom wrote a play to fit the students I had in class. Having a special needs student who I wanted to make sure was included, gave me the character of Charlie. As to how the videotape arrives if Chris is dead, I always just say that it’s my hope he is alive and it all is a practical joke but many options exist and I have felt it best to let the audience draw their own conclusion.
A few fun facts about the play that you would not know until now…..Christopher’s birthday is April 1st. I used that because it is also my mom’s birthday. Brent’s is November 10th which happens to be my birthday 🙂 Nearly all cast members can recite their “abc’s” forwards and backwards after being a part of this play. The back story for this is that when my mom was young, her Dad told her he wanted her to learn her abc’s from a chalkboard he had left by the time he came home from work. She didn’t know which way was the beginning so she learned them both ways. She was very young but also very smart and now that trait is one passed on to the character of Chris. You never know what story from your own life will be an inspiration for a character to another writer. So now you have…. the rest of the story 🙂 #Theatre4Change
Proud to say, May I Have Your Attention, Please will soon be performed in another Canadian Province. Thanks, Newfoundland for spreading the message! #Theatre4Change
02/07/2017 BOLD SCHOOLS, OLIVIA, MN
03/15/2017 Cartwright, Goose Bay NF
Who would have thought growing up that plays I wrote would be performed in 25 states, 3 Canadian Provinces and Scotland? I thought a performance in my classroom with my first drama kids was a big deal and never fathomed that the messages I wanted to share in my writing could reach beyond those walls. I am thankful to all those who choose my works each year to spread the messages in their own way. Here’s hoping that I get to update this map often and that soon, whether it be Christopher Borthwick from May I Have Your Attention, Please? or Jane from First Week of Jane or Bob and Betty from Boxes, that they all come alive on a stage somewhere to spread the message again to new audiences in new places.
Not often are you able to turn back time and see yourself from an outer perspective. In some ways, much of being afforded this opportunity seems surreal. I recently found a VHS tape (not like Charlie in May I Have) but a tape of me and my best friend, Mary Ann singing music in our early 20’s and yes, I did say in our early 20’s NOT in the 1920’s 😉 Much has changed as I look at the video from this outsider’s perspective yet one thing is very recognizable…I was a writer. It was songs then but still they were my creations. So if you feel so inclined, take a reminiscent journey back with me in a very rare glimpse of the early writer in me.
With most plays, we practice, we take the stage and sometimes we get the standing ovation or a job well done remarks or an award, but seldom do we expect that because we performed, a person chose to live. That is powerful and that is what happened in Nebraska. We may never know how many others may have chosen life because of seeing May I Have Your Attention, Please? but saving one life gives us hope that each performance may have impacted another person to give life a chance. To all who choose this play and its message, I salute you! #Theatre4Change
#2016KTA Bracken County High School’s performance of May I have Your Attention, Please? was more than just a performance to advance them to State Competition in Kentucky. They used their performances to spread awareness by using the performance as a catalyst to start dialogues. They brought in speakers at the various school and community performances they did and handed out these bracelets with the Teen Suicide Hotline number on the inside. Congratulations, Bracken High School for being a real #Theatre4Change!
!Top photo courtesy of Kim Miller, University of the Cumberlands and bottom photo courtesy of Phillip Neace, Perry Central HS