My new play ‘The Gingerbread Man Gets Schooled’ is fresh, funny, and ready to roll

Gingerbread ManThis weekend I wrote a play! Short and swift, just like the title character!

It’s a 20-minute comedy called The Gingerbread Man Gets Schooled. The dashing Gingerbread Man finds his way into the Baker Street School cafeteria, and it’s up to the Mad Science Club and the cheerleading squad to run him down.

20-minute plays are growing in popularity. They usually have single sets, a dozen or so characters, and can be staged with a minimum of technical and financial support. Ideally, no one character carries the show and the parts are fairly evenly matched in terms of stage time and lines of dialogue. These plays seem to be most attractive to elementary and middle schools where mounting a full scale play or musical is out of the question, and they want to do age-appropriate material.

The Gingerbread Man Gets Schooled takes place entirely in the school cafeteria, where, in actuality, this play is most likely to be performed. Or on an empty stage. No furniture. Simple. Inexpensive.

I had a lot of fun with character names on this one. Everyone is named after a combination of baked goods and pastry items: Crusty Croquembouche, Newton Figg, Lorna Doone, Toffee Snickerdoodle, etc. My favorite is Berner Haselnusslebkuchen!

Also, over the years I have learned not to write “down” to young actors or audiences. This script has some challenging vocabulary, including the terms Fahrenheit, protocol, and even dodecagon! I’ve included some basic vocabulary related to chemistry, physics and geometry, in addition to all those pastry names, so the students will have fun looking them up. Adult audiences love it when children spout out brilliant things.

Writing even a short, simple, playful show like The Gingerbread Man Gets Schooled is quite satisfying. It will be even better when I get to see a live production, where the kids have made it their own!

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Thank you, One Night Stand Theater, for staging ‘Imperfections’!

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What a thrill it was to attend One Night Stand Theater’s production of “Voices for Change,” April 12 at the Vintage Theatre in Aurora. The evening featured, among others, my ten-minute travesty “Imperfections.”

A huge thank you to director Kristin Honiotes for courageously taking on a potentially unpopular and certainly controversial social subject and discovering ALL the humor I put into it. Kristin showed phenomenal respect for the text, and interpreted it perfectly for the stage.

Thank you also to the cast: Kathi Wood as the genetic engineering coach, Andrew Dus as a reluctant Chip, and Maria Ortiz as a clearly out-of-her-depth Cissy. I shed tears of laughter while watching you squirm. I’m so proud of you all, and very grateful. You are all tremendously talented actors, and I dearly hope to see you perform more of my plays!

My next step is to send the new, improved version of the script out to publishers. There’s a growing market for 10-minute plays, and I hope this one finds a “forever home” soon.

Hey, you playwrights. You should bookmark One Night Stand Theater and submit to them often. They are committed to producing script-in-hand staged performances of new and quality short works. And production is kind of a prerequisite for most publishers before they’ll even consider your script.

Their next show is “One Night Stand with Leroy Leonard,” an evening of short plays, stories and poems by a Denver playwright with an extensive track record as writer and performer.

The next opportunity for new plays or stories featured in One Night Stand is coming up on August 2. That’s when they will present “One Night Stand in the Old West,” so send them plays, stories or poems about the Old West, Colorado history, or the taming of the frontier. (It doesn’t even have to be the American frontier; they’re flexible.) The deadline for entries is June 22; send them to tickets@OneNightStandTheater.org. If you have questions, send them to that e-mail address as well.

Promo: My short play ‘Imperfections’ to be part of One Night Stand Theater’s ‘Voices for Change’ April 12

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One Night Stand Theater will present ‘Voices of Change,’ a collection of short plays and a short story “featuring today’s explosive social issues torn from the headlines yet as close as your own front door.”

My comedy “Imperfections” is one of seven pieces that were selected.

The performance will be Sunday, April 12, 7 p.m. at the Vintage Theatre, 1468 Dayton St., Aurora, CO 80010 (1/2 block south of Colfax in Old Downtown Aurora.)

One Night Stand Theater explores the dramatic and comedic worlds of today’s social issues when “Voices for Change: Tales of Social Strife and Injustice” takes the stage on Sunday, February 8, 7:00 p.m. at the Vintage Theater in Aurora.

This one-night-only production features readings and performances of plays and stories that confront violence, racism, social inequality, global warming and more:

  • A memorial for a school shooting hosts a strange and tragic visitor in “Holy Martyr” by Marianne Page.
  • An enthusiastic couple visits Build a Baby Corp. to genetically engineer their first child in “Imperfections” by Patrick Dorn.
  • A downtown panhandler runs into an old buddy with a new life in Cody Sanford’s “Et Tu, Brute.”
  • A hardened racist trades prison time for an unusual new rehabilitation program in “Walkin’ the Mile” by Wayne Faust.
  • A father has a life-and-death talk with his adopted black son in “How Does It Feel to Be a Problem” by Patrick Gabridge.
  • Global warming kicks off a roommate intervention in “An Inconvenient Date” by Peter Nemenoff.
  • Prejudice and complacency lead to tragedy on a Milwaukee street in “Delivered” by Jeffrey Neuman.

These stories are performed by actors Logan Custer, Andrew Dus, Adrian Hart, Scott Hasbrouck, Chris Hayes, Kristin Honiotes, Mark Ogle, Maria Ortiz, Sonsharae Tull and Kathi Wood. The directors are Lorraine Scott, Cindy Hall, Kristin Honiotes and Brenda Hoskins.

“While many of the plays and stories performed in our previous One Night Stand evenings dealt with these and other important issues, this is the first time we’ve devoted an entire evening to these themes,” says James O’Leary, One Night Stand Theater’s artistic director. “We’ve been able to put together an evening of both intense drama and lighthearted comedy. The writers of these short plays and stories have a lot to say about our world, and each speaks in a distinct and original voice.”

One Night Stand Theater is a Denver-area theater group that presents one-night-only evenings of theatrical staged readings, each with its own theme. Past performances have featured old-time radio, folk tales, Shakespeare, and plays about romance, war, and dysfunctional families.

“Voices for Change” performs on Sunday, April 12 at 7:00 p.m. at the Vintage Theatre, located at 1468 Dayton St., one half-block south of Colfax Avenue in Old Downtown Aurora. Tickets are $10 and the show is recommended for mature audiences (for adult language). To make reservations, e-mail tickets@onenightstandtheater.org or phone 303-725-4959. More information is available at www.onenightstandtheater.org.

Here’s the bio I wrote especially for this production:

Baby Patrick DornPATRICK DORN (IMPERFECTIONS)
In the 1940s and 50s, without any support from the scientific community or government funding, Patrick Dorn’s parents conducted a series of genetic experiments involving the combination of chromosomal pairs through in utero fertilization. After countless attempts over fifteen years, only six procedures produced an outcome. Despite Offspring Number Five’s (AKA Patrick’s) patently superior intelligence and good looks, a subsequent attempt to duplicate the successful pairing produced disappointing results. They then gave up and chose adoption. Patrick likes laughing more than crying. He has occasionally been observed doing both at the same time, though curiously, never during a Chekhov play. One Night Stand Theatre previously staged his “Zombie Family Picnic,” to gastronomical audience response.