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The Livejournal That Ate Detroit

We are not the Story

Girl Gumshoe & Detective Dad: Meet Nan Kirschman
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Here's a fun tidbit: one of the first fragments of dialogue that popped into my head for this play was Sarita scolding Gina: "She hasn't done anything but be lonely." I didn't know at the time that Sarita was talking about the one and only Nan Kirschman (Fawn Wilderson-Legros). Nan is the play's true outsider, having no loyalties to any of the other characters. As such, she's able to voice a lot of things the audience may be thinking as the play progresses, perhaps along the lines of, "Why are you being so terrible to each other?" and, "How have you managed to survive in the real world for this long?" Unfortunately, her outsider status makes her (as it so often does in our world) a convenient scapegoat when needed (which happens more than you might expect in a comedy about moving day).

Nan also serves, for Sarita, as a sort of funhouse mirror, a distorted but eerily plausible reflection of what her future with Gina might be like if she's unable to draw Gina, kicking and screaming if need be, into an equal partnership.

Nan was straight up a ton of fun to write.  Lacking serious ties to the other characters, she's able to stay out of their drama and observe—sometimes silently, sometimes not, but always irreverently and, at least in my mind while I was doing it, hilariously. No one wants to admit it, but everyone's life needs a Nan.

Girl Gumshoe & Detective Dad opens TONIGHT at 7:30 at the People's Center Theater, 425 20th Avenue South, Minneapolis. Tickets for future performances are available at Brown Paper Tickets.

Girl Gumshoe & Detective Dad: Meet Irene Davenport
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Irene (Kate Kunkel Bailey) is a bit of a cipher.  We know she owns a yarn store, but that's almost all of what we learn of her beyond her identity as Gina's mother and Troy's wife. I don't often like to do that, especially with female characters, but for Irene, the question of identity is a slowly evolving one, the answer to which she herself has neglected for far too long.

The question I asked myself most often regarding Irene is: why? Why did she marry Troy in the first place? Why has she stayed with him so long? Why did she never put her foot down about the girl Gina was and the woman she was becoming, when she clearly wanted something different for her daughter?

The thing is, when you're a serious young woman, as Irene was, a light-hearted jokester like Troy can be very appealing. His lack of pretention and seemingly straight-forward nature charmed her. When Gina was young, she was grateful for a partner who could engage with a child at her own level, something Irene could never entirely unbend enough to do. But she imagined that, eventually, Troy would leave behind that jokey exterior and reveal a serious man, husband, and father beneath. The day she realized that would never happen—and that their endless adolescence might be jeopardizing Gina's future ability to cope with adulthood—was the day she approached Troy with The Deal.* She ends the play facing one of life's ultimate questions: who am I, independent of the roles and labels that have been imposed on me?

*What is "The Deal"? Find out at Gadfly Theatre Productions' premiere of Girl Gumshoe & Detective Dad, October 17-26 at the People's Center Theater  (pay-what-you-can performances on 10.19, 10/2-, and 10/26).

Girl Gumshoe & Detective Dad: Meet Troy Davenport
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Anyone who's met my father-in-law will instantly recognize Troy Davenport (G. Zachariah White). Jerry's a bit more pragmatic than Troy, but the general sense of a fun-loving goofy guy who doesn't always realize when he's pushed the joke too far will definitely be familiar.

I originally conceptualized the character as a love letter of sorts to my father-in-law. My relationship with my mother-in-law is strained at best, and Jerry's been a rock these past 11 years, subtly inserting himself into fraught situations, using humor to defuse tense situations and soothe ruffled feathers. He's great. But because a play needs conflict, I started to think about the downside of being a guy like Jerry. Being myself a person who uses humor as a front line of defense, finding the downside was all too easy: taking the joke too far; not noticing when a situation is too serious for a joke; having your humor come across as mean-spirited; no one taking you seriously, even when you're not trying to be funny.

Moving day puts Troy in a tight spot. He wants so much for his little girl to be happy. But in this instance, the conditions that lead to her happiness conflict directly with the conditions that lead to his own. That tension leads him to make several highly questionable decision—bad for interpersonal relationships, great for theater!

Girl Gumshoe & Detective Dad: Meet Sarita de la Cruz
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Actor, theater history buff, and all-around take-charge woman, Gina's girlfriend Sarita de la Cruz (Kathryn Fumie) offers a semi-outsider perspective on the Davenport family and their interactions. Enough people told me, in earlier drafts of this play, that Sarita came across as too abrasive and combative, that I toned her down, at least in the opening scenes. But if I'm honest, I think she could stand to be harder on the Davenports than she is.

Sarita is strong-willed and independent but finds herself in the unenviable position of having fallen in love with someone who's pretty much the opposite of both of those things. She's put up with a lot of crap from the elder Davenports because she believes wholeheartedly in her relationship with Gina. But as the play, and the game, progress, Gina's commitment to the relationship seems increasingly shaky, leaving Sarita to wonder if she's building her house on sand. Given all of that, who can blame Sarita for being ready to throw in the towel on the entire Davenport clan?

Girl Gumshoe & Detective Dad: Meet Gina Davenport
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In anticipation of Gadfly Theatre Productions' IMMINENT OPENING of my play Girl Gumshoe & Detective Dad, I'm writing up some meditations on the characters, to introduce folks to them before the curtain goes up (only not really. There's no curtain. Sorry). I'll start with Gina Davenport (Lauren Diesch), because Gina is the glue that holds all the Girl Gumshoe relationships together.

This is my most autobiographical play. Not plot-wise (thank goodness) but character- and relationship-wise. Gina is so very much me just after college—though I didn't have a world-wise girlfriend to move in with. Largely sheltered childhood, close parent/child relationship, early-adult coming out experience...these aspects of my own past went into Gina, as did my futile longing for the easy, fun, consequence-free whimsy of adolescence over the often difficult, consequence-laden obligations of adulthood. People like Gina and I can be incredibly frustrating, especially as partners, and we often wonder what the crap functional adults like Sarita and Leora are thinking, putting up with us. But we sure are grateful that they do.

But Gina and I have our redeeming qualities, as well. We know how to make our own fun; we are unshakably loyal to those who return our love; and when push comes to shove (maybe even off a roof?), we will, ultimately, do what's right.

Girl Gumshoe & Detective Dad runs October 17-26, 2014, at the People's Center Theater, 425 20th Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55454

No, please. Condescend a little more.
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Man, I know. Two years without an update. But lately I've felt the need to say some things in a longer format than Facebook or twitter or G+ affords me. With my website still experiencing technical difficulties, I've decided to put some of these thoughts here.

I'm currently reading Underground, a limited-series comic by Jeff Parker and Steve Lieber about two park rangers being pursued by baddies through an underground cave system. It's a hella rad adventure story.

Here is, I shit you not, one of the back-cover blurbs: "No other book gripped me like this one did--and all without a single superhero. I didn't think that was possible in the world of comic books."

Oh, up yours, buttface. Aren't we over this yet? This "comics are picture books about superheroes heh heh" mentality? Underground was published in 2010, so it's not like non-supe comics and graphic novels were this shockingly novel idea of the day. We've all heard of Maus. Persepolis. Fun Home. Claiming that only superhero-focused comics can be gripping is a disservice to the talented and dedicated writers and artists creating such books, to the readers who love them--and to you, idiot reviewer who's missing out of a rich and varied storytelling world because you're convinced you could never love anything as much as you love improbable dudes in Spandex.

(no subject)
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I have a pretty light schedule for CONvergence 2012, which is good, as I'll be on "gimp guard" for my three-weeks-post-op beloved. Still, I'm excited about the things on the agenda.

Friday, July 6

3:30pm - Geek Partnership Society Writing Contest Ceremony - Vista Suite - Past winners of the annual GPS Writing Contests read from their winning work. This year’s winners are announced. Panelists: George Richard, Hilary Moon Murphy (Nope, I'm not an official panelist, but I am a previous winner and current judge, so I'll be there.)

5:00pm - Minn-Spec Meeting - Cabana 201 - Come and learn about the Minnesota Speculative Fiction Writers, a 280+ member-strong organization. Panelists: Michael Merriam (mod), Hilary Moon Murphy, Tyler Tork

Saturday, July 7

9:30am - Science Fiction and Fantasy On-Stage - Atrium 8 - Discuss productions of SF/F in theatre. What are some great SF/F plays you’ve seen, locally or nationally? What would you like to see on stage? What adaptations of SF/F books or movies would you like to see on stage? Panelists: Phillip Andrew Bennett Low, Shawn Van Briesen, Eli Effinger-Weintraub, John Heimbuch

10:00pm – Avoiding Cliches Like the Plague - Atrium 7 - Once upon a time on a dark and stormy night, the end of the world as we know it was brought about by cliches. How do we avoid this fate worse than death? Panelists: Damian Sheridan, Christopher Baldwin, Anna Waltz, Elizabeth Bear, Eli Effinger-Weintraub (I'm on this panel as devil's advocate, defending the cliché.)

"The Last Days of Pangaea" at NUP
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A new "Restorying the Sacred" post appeareth! Behold, it is about a break-up more relevant and intriguing than any celebrity couple or boy band: the break-up of the supercontinent Pangaea. "The Last Days of Pangaea".

Forget it, Jake. It's mantle convection.


Being a report of my experiences at Paganicon 2012
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2012 24:00:00 Xtreme Theatre Smackdown II
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Well. Lookit me be so far behind in my journaling!

So! The Smackdown was epic fun.Collapse )


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