While I write weak and weary, and immerse myself deep in thought about backwoods mysteries full of Southern drawls and bad grammar, I thought I’d spend the next few weeks and months on the blog periodically filling you in on the upcoming production of my play One Bear Lake. The show doesn’t run until January of 2017, but this is my first experience being involved in a production of one of my full-length plays. I’m hoping playwrights at the beginning of their careers will find these production notes edifying, and perhaps it will help them prepare for their first production.
The play is a dark comedy about three siblings and their spouses spending a family vacation together in a rental home on a lake. The siblings discover that while they were raised in the same family, they all had completely different childhoods. The story is nothing like my books, in that there are no monsters and/or gun slinging bad guys. Writing stage plays brings out a completely different side of me as a writer, and I can’t tell how much I enjoy exploring that side.
The play is being produced by 5th Wall Productions, and it will be co-directed by Jason Olson and Blair Cadden. Fitting, because they helped me develop the play from its original 10-minute structure to the full-length version via their Writers’ Bloc program that meets on the fourth Sunday of every month. Incredibly, it’s a free ongoing workshop. If you’re in the Charleston area, you should really check it out.
Over the coming weeks, I’m going to feature the actors that have been cast in the show (six in all). It’s a stellar group, and I can’t wait to get to work with them. First up is Margaret Nyland who will be playing the part of Rachel, the wife of the oldest brother Freddy. She and Freddy have a sweet yet spirited relationship. In other words, they annoy and enjoy the hell out of each other.
Margaret is currently filming a movie about South Carolina’s greatest Revolutionary War hero and staunch abolitionist, John Laurens. She is playing the part of an Irish slave. Laurens was educated in Europe, so he had radical ideas that did not go over too well with his Southern slave-trading father. I’m convinced that had Laurens survived the war (he was actually killed in a skirmish after the British had surrendered) he would have been a delegate sent to the Constitutional Convention, and he would have pushed for freeing the slaves. Given that South Carolina was the most vocal state about keeping the institution of slavery alive, Laurens may have been successful and completely changed the course of history. But I digress. Back to Margaret. Here’s her bio, and I will keep you posted on future productions she may be in between now and rehearsals for One Bear Lake:
Margaret Nyland most recently performed the role of Lula in The Dayporch at Threshold Repertory, and previously played Laura Chandler in Threshold’s production of “1963”. Margaret was also part of Pure Theatre’s Holiday Shorts 2015. She performed the role of Amelia Tilford in the College of Charleston’s production of The Children’s Hour and Kate Mundy in Dancing at Lughnasa. During 2015 Piccolo Spoleto, Margaret portrayed death row inmate Sunny Jacobs in Midtown Production’s The Exonerated. A graduate of UVA and the University of Michigan, Margaret and her family reside in downtown Charleston.