(Reprinted with permission leiren-young.com)
Not long after Never Shoot a Stampede Queen was published, one-man-show sensation TJ Dawe called. He wanted to know if I was interested in adapting the book for the stage. After we met I discovered that he'd read the script for a production of an earlier incarnation of my crazy Cariboo tales that my friend Kennedy Goodkey (co-writer and star of The Beast of Bottomless Lake) performed at the Adelaide Fringe Festival. TJ had never forgotten the script or the stories and he wondered if I'd take another shot at a stage version.
We met, we talked, we decided that the best way to develop the show was with an actor. I asked a few friends who they thought the ideal performer was to play a city boy coming of age in a cowboy town. The same name kept coming up over and over and over... Ryan Beil.
I knew Ryan's work -- and I was a fan -- but I'd never met him. So I contacted him on Facebook.
I asked if he'd be interested in doing a one man show I was writing. He told me he'd love to -- but this wouldn't be his first time doing a one man show I'd scripted. When he told me that he'd done a high school production of my play, Jim -- a solo show about a teenager's pilgrimage to Jim Morrison's grave -- I knew we had our reporter.
A few months ago I met with dramaturg Rachel Ditor about writing something new for the Arts Club. She told me about ReACT. I told her about Stampede Queen. She read the script, so did Arts Club boss Bill Millerd (who has produced a lot of my shows over the years and directed my first and only musical, Easy Money - written with Bruce Kellett). And this Sunday at 8 we find out what we've got.
Rehearsals have been a blast and TJ and Ryan have done a fine job of reminding me... this isn't the book... it's an adaptation of the book... and it's a play...
And it's playing Sunday at 8 at my fave venue in the world -- the Arts Club Revue. Admission by donation.
And if all goes well, it will play again someday at a theatre near you.
There are two other shows being workshopped and both sound like they're worth checking out -- new pieces by Patti Allan, Ellen Kennedy & Beverly Sauvé and Marcus Youssef -- so I'm including the official Arts Club info below.
Stampede Queens and Swing Sisters…
The Arts Club offers the opportunity to experience theatre in the making with its annual ReACT: New Plays in Progress series. Now in its 11th season, this year’s series features three readings of works by local playwrights Mark Leiren-Young;Patti Allan, Ellen Kennedy, and Beverly Sauvé; and Marcus Youssef.
After each reading, Artistic Managing Director Bill Millerd will lead the audience in post-reading discussions with the playwrights, actors, and Literary Manager Rachel Ditor. All readings are open to the public; admission is by donation.
Sunday, October 23, 8 PM
Never Shoot a Stampede Queen
By Mark Leiren-Young. Read by Ryan Beil, Directed by TJ Dawe
Monday, October 24, 8 PM
The Swing Sisters’ Christmas
By Patti Allan, Ellen Kennedy, and Beverly Sauvé
Celebrate Christmas Swing Sisters–style with a mix of holiday music and stories. A heartwarming treat for the festive season, The Swing Sisters’ Christmas conjures up the memories and sounds of classic TV specials of the ‘50s and ‘60s. Indulge in an evening of nostalgia and laughter, and sing along to favourites including “Winter Wonderland,” “Santa Claus Boogie,” and “I’ll be Home for Christmas.” The Swing Sisters’ Christmas features Patti Allan, Ellen Kennedy, and Beverly Sauvé, with guitarist Ron Thompson and Ralph Shaw, the King of Ukulele.
Tuesday, October 25, 8 PM
How Has My Love Affected You?
By Marcus Youssef
It took Marcus too long to figure out that his 55-year-old, semi-estranged mother, Roleene, had early onset Alzheimer’s disease. It took even longer for her to be far-gone enough to accept his help. After a ten- year odyssey caring for her, Marcus discovered her journals, which she kept religiously through the early stages of the disease. Though she never published a word, Roleene wrote her whole life, as a defense against depression, and—in the face of Alzheimer’s—as an attempt to preserve a sense of who and where she was. How Has My Love Affected You? is a show about memory and the complicated ways we tell the stories of our own families and lives.