Captain Spaulding on Skull Island

Happy Holidays!  Here’s a short play I wrote for the festivities.

THE YULE-GATOR AT THE NEON CYPRESS by John Weagly

(Lights up.

The Neon Cypress, a roadhouse down by the swamps.  There are a couple of signs advertising Abita beer and Old Crow whiskey.  Cajun Christmas music plays on the jukebox.  JUVENAL tends bar and looks like he’s been tending bar here for several decades.  WALLY sits at the bar, an abiding barfly.  After a moment, ALICE enters. She is in her early-twenties and attractive in a wild way.  She carries a log.)

ALICE

Got it!

JUVENAL

Look at that there – As fine a pagan tradition as I ever did see.

ALICE

Found it over by the Black Willow Cascade.  It should burn just fine.

WALLY

Light it and don’t let it go out.

(ALICE puts the log into a barbecue grill that the Neon Cypress uses as an impromptu fireplace.)

ALICE

What’s the point of a Yule log, anyway?  I never did know.

WALLY

It’s bad luck to let it go out.

JUVENAL

‘Round about these parts, the stories go back year after year about the Yule-Gator.

ALICE

Is this one of those ridiculous swamp legends you like to tell?

JUVENAL

Legend – yes, ridiculous – no.  This happens every year around this season.  Now-a-times we call it the Eve of Christmas, but, long ago, it was just Winterpeak.  On Winterpeak, from out of the coldest, deepest, darkest part of the swamp, came the biggest alligator the bayou ever seen – the Yule-Gator.

ALICE

The Yule-Gator?

JUVENAL

That’s right, to be sure.

ALICE

Let me guess, the Yule-Gator roams the countryside with nary a care in the world, gobbling up all the bad little boys and girls.

JUVENAL

That’s it!  That’s what he does!  Grown people, too!  The Yule-Gator goes after anybody that’s done somethin’ in the last year that they was ashamed of.

ALICE

That don’t narrow the field too much, does it?

JUVENAL

Long as a fallen tree that grew for a hundred years, heavier than all the marsh-mud that could be dredged up by ten thousand men – he has eyes like frozen hearts and claws like insults from an ex-lover.  His teeth are so long and sharp that…

ALICE

We get it!  He’s a nasty dude.

JUVENAL

That he is, surely.  The only thing that keeps that ornery monster away from people trying to love each other is the light and the warmth of a Yule log burning.  People sit around that fire together and that kind of comradery gives them safety and protection from things that mean to do them harm.

WALLY

It’s bad luck to let it go out.

ALICE

Okay – so that’s the point of a Yule log.  Keeps away the Yule-Gator.  I guess now I know.

WALLY

Light it and don’t let it go out.

ALICE

Okey-doke.

(ALICE searches her pockets for matches or a lighter.  She finds nothing.)

ALICE

Looks like I’m all out of fire tonight, fellas.

(JUVENAL and WALLY both search their pockets.)

JUVENAL

I ain’t got nothin’.

(WALLY makes a gesture to indicate “Me, neither.”)

ALICE

So, how do we want to handle this?

(Something starts scratching at the door to the tavern, something that sounds very large and full of ill will.)

ALICE

That him?  That the Yule-Gator?

JUVENAL

It ain’t Father Christmas.

ALICE

How ‘bout that.

(They listen to the scratching for a brief moment.)

ALICE

Got any ideas on getting’ rid of him?

JUVENAL

Either of you done anything in the last year that you’re ashamed of?

ALICE

Nope!  I live fine with the stuff I do.

WALLY

Me neither!  All year I’ve been lit and I didn’t let it go out.

JUVENAL

Me, too.  My guilt is pretty inconsiderable.  (Calling.) You hear that, Yule-Gator?  No shame here!  No need for you!  Go on, Gator!  Git!

(The scratching at the door ceases.)

ALICE

Back to the coldest, deepest, darkest part of the swamp he goes!

(JUVENAL pours three drinks and raises his glass in a toast.)

JUVENAL

To the holidays and tradition!

(JUVENAL, ALICE and WALLY all drink.)

ALICE

Anybody got any stories about eggnog?

(Lights down.)

A Mitchum in Every Stocking

December 12th, 2016

Tomorrow night December 13, come see (and maybe perform) a reading of my holiday monologue “A Mitchum in Every Stocking.”  It’s part of The Make Ready, which is done every other month by the good people at Dandelion Theatre.

Here are the details:

Tuesday, December 13

7:00

The Make Ready

Featuring “A Mitchum in Every Stocking” by John Weagly and other short scripts by other talented playwrights.

Vagabond School of the Arts

4001 N. Ravenswood, 5th floor

Chicago

Presented by Dandelion Theatre.

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Happy 100th Kirk Douglas!

December 9th, 2016

Happy 100th birthday Kirk Douglas! Here are a dozen Douglas movies to celebrate with:

Out of the Past, 1947
Champion, 1949
Ace in the Hole, 1951
Detective Story, 1951
The Bad and the Beautiful, 1952
20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, 1954
Lust for Life, 1956
Paths of Glory, 1957
Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, 1957
The Vikings, 1958
Spartacus, 1960
Lonely Are The Brave, 1962

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I’ll be hosting a round table discussion about playwrighting at the “So You Want To Be An Author” Seminar presented by the Myth-Ink: SFFH Writers of Columbia College this Sunday November 13.  I’ll be talking about writing plays, sending scripts the theaters and all sorts of other playwrighty stuff.

If you’re so inclined, check it out.  It’s FREE!

Tina L. Jens, a professor at Columbia, uses my short play collection TINY FLIGHTS OF FANTASY as a textbook in her class “Fantasy Genre Writing.”  You can purchase TINY FLIGHTS OF FANTASY here.

Here are the details on the seminar:

Myth-Ink: SFFH Writers of Columbia College presents

So You Want To Be An Author

A professional development seminar

Sunday, November 13

11:00am to 5:00pm

Columbia College – 1104 S. Wabash in Chicago

Myth-Ink, the student science fiction, fantasy, and horror writing organization, is putting on So You Want to Be An Author, a one-day professional development seminar and Immersion Event in partnership with the Career Center. This seminar will focus tightly on real-world advice about the publishing industry: how to break into it and how to advance a burgeoning career.

So You Want To Be An Author is being held in conjunction with the Chicago Book Expo, which will have three other tracks of panels, along with an Expo Hall. All events are free and open to the public.

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Table Tennis Terrors

October 31st, 2016

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I know what you’re thinking – “I hate this time of year! I get so sick and tired of all of the ping pong Halloween plays.”

Sorry – here’s another one.

I wrote this short little ditty for a fundraiser that Promethean Theatre Ensemble was doing at a ping pong bar.  Check Promethean out – they do good work!

And then the incredibly talented Greg Owens was kind enough to post a recording of the script on his HIGH COUNTRY DRAMA podcast.

It features me and Brian Pastor.

Here it is – the table tennis terrors of… “Table Tennis Terrors.”

Happy Halloween!

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Tomorrow night (Tuesday 10/11) my short Halloween play “Oscillating Sasquatch” will receive a staged reading by the good people at Dandelion Theatre as part of their THE MAKE READY.

Goth-punk-hillbilly girls robbing a grave – what could be better!

Tuesday, October 11

7:00

Dandelion Theatre’s THE MAKE READY

Featuring “Oscillating Sasquatch”

The Galway Arms

2442 N. Clark – Chicago

Come see “Jesus Saves” by Eoin Carney, a very funny short play that I’m directing for Otherworld Theatre’s PARAGON Play Festival.  It features the out-of-this-world talents of Conor Clark and Martha Reddick.

PARAGON is a short-play festival dedicated to furthering Otherworld’s mission of growing the genre of Science Fiction and Fantasy Theatre through the discovery and promotion of new artists and works.

This wonderful festival will feature 40 Plays in 2 Days.

Here are the details:

Sunday, October 2 at 3:10

“Jesus Saves” by Eoin Carney

directed by John Weagly

featuring Conor Clark & Martha Reddick

The Public House Theatre

3914 N. Clark Street in Chicago

Block Tickets for the festival (from break to break) can be purchased at the door for $7.

Day Passes are $15.

Weekend Passes are $22.

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RIP Edward Albee

September 18th, 2016

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It’s weird to me to think that I do the same thing as Edward Albee.  I suppose technically we’re both playwrights, but you can’t really compare Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? to one of my six-minute plays about sock monkeys or dead dwarves or two guys talking about convoys.

Throughout my life, I’ve been exposed to many of the great writers for the stage.  Whether in college or working at one of the many theaters that have employed me or just as a theater-goer, I’ve seen or read plays by all of our celebrated playwrights.  While I enjoy all of them, some I connect with (Harold Pinter, John Guare, David Mamet, Sam Shepard) and some I don’t (Clifford Odets, Eugene O’Neill, Tennessee Williams, Arthur Miller).  Again, not a question of quality or enjoyment, just the idea of “I want to do that.”

Edward Albee is one of the one’s I connect with.

I didn’t realize it at the time I was writing it, but my play “King Kong Doesn’t Speak” is very heavily influenced by “The Zoo Story” and several of my plays owe a debt to Seascape.

He changed theater and gave us a new kind of drama.

Rest in peace.

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R.I.P. Gene Wilder

August 29th, 2016

About 10 years ago, while I was a tour guide for Wendella Boats in Chicago, my co-worker Jacob and I were sitting around waiting for our next tour to start.  Jacob turned to me and said, “Wouldn’t it be cool if Gene Wilder came on board and took a tour today?”

What a wonderful, joy-filled idea that was!

Since then, that idea has perked up any day that was a little slow, a little down, a little blah.  “What if Gene Wilder stopped by today?”  The notion puts a smile on one’s face.

I wouldn’t be the person I am today without Young Frankenstein.

Here are some of my favorite Gene Wilder movies:

Bonnie and Clyde, 1967

The Producers, 1968

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, 1971

Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Sex But Were Afraid To Ask, 1972

Blazing Saddles, 1974

Young Frankenstein, 1974

Silver Streak, 1976

The Frisco Kid, 1979

Rest in peace.

 

 

Cthulhu in Kalamazoo

August 23rd, 2016

This Thursday in Kalamazoo see my Lovecraftian short play “Strange Aeons and Free Hot Dogs” as part of POLITICAL SHORTS: A TALKBACK WITH THE CANDIDATES.  This fine program is being done by the good people at Fancy Pants Theater and the Kalamazoo Jaycees.

Here are the details:

Thursday 8/25 at 7:30

Fancy Pants Theater and the Kalamazoo Jaycees present

Political Shorts: A Talkback With The Candidates

Featuring my short Cthulhu-inspired play “Strange Aeons and Free Hot Dogs”

The Epic Theatre

359 S. Kalamazoo Mall Drive

Kalamazoo, Michigan

Are you in a place that’s not Kalamazoo, but you’d still like to experience “Strange Aeons and Free Hot Dogs”?  Why not buy a copy and read it to yourself?  It’s included in my short play collection TINY FLIGHTS OF FANTASY, which you can purchase at Amazon.

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