The Bunny and the Big Black Dog: A Fable

THE BUNNY AND THE BIG BLACK DOG: A Fable
(Based on an actual event, as refined through theological reflection)

By Patrick Dorn

Early one cloudy morning, a big black dog trotted along a narrow dirt path, sniffing the air and enjoying the freedom that comes with a retractable leash.

Frankie on walk 6-20-15Without warning, a bunny dashed up the path, directly toward him!

“Good morning, Bunny,” Frankie (for that was the big black dog’s name) said. “Would you like to play chase?”

The bunny did not reply, so Frankie lolled his tongue and grinned a toothy, winning smile.

He repeated the invitation. “Chase?”

The bunny continued straight toward him. A collision seemed imminent.

The big black dog was taken aback. Typically, the bunnies he saw on his daily walks ran AWAY from him. But here was this bunny with pert ears and a bouncy stride coming straight at him, and not slowing down.

Frankie braced for impact, hoping the bunny wouldn’t be injured when it bounced off his big black body.Bunny

With an agile grace that Frankie could only admire, and secretly covet, the bunny performed an abrupt left turn, sprinted across a lush patch of grass, and under a bush.

“I guess he changed his mind,” Frankie said to himself. “But why was he in such a hurry?”

The big black dog looked up and saw, only a few yards above, a falcon, its angry beak gaping, notched wings outstretched against the clouds.

The falcon tucked away its talons, spun and circled upward, perching on the jagged top branches of a long-dead tree.falcon

Frankie glanced at the bush where the bunny crouched and shivered. The poor creature was hunched into a ball, making himself look very small indeed.

“By golly, if I hadn’t happened along, you might have become a tasty morsel for that falcon,” Frankie said. He tried to sound amiable, to calm the agitated bunny.

The bunny twitched its nose.

“You may have saved my life,” the bunny said. “But that doesn’t make us friends.”

The bunny turned, and in a flash of fluffy cottontail, disappeared into the dense undergrowth.

Frankie sadFrankie felt sad as he continued his walk. But he knew the bunny was right. It was a wild bunny after all, running loose in a world of falcons.

It had never known the kind of reassuring freedom that comes with a retractable leash.

THE END

SYMBOLISM ALERT: If you like to figure things out for yourself, READ NO FURTHER. However, if you’d like a hint to aid in deeper reflection, consider this: who is the implied character on the other end of the leash? That’s right. The Master. Now you take it from there.

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Play reviews and Promos are migrating to my NEW web site!

Dear Readers:

I’m re-building this PatrickDorn.com page to focus on my growing Playwright and Author career. Here’s where you will find links and stories related to my plays, stories and (upcoming) novels.

Meanwhile, the Play Reviewing and Promotional work is EXPANDING! So I’ve created a new page.

Check out and FOLLOW The Best Seat In Town for my latest play reviews and promotions. In addition to the blog, there are pages with links to Denver-area theatre companies and also Denver-area theatre artists! (At least the ones following my new blog).

I’ll keep currently posted reviews on promos on this site until the shows close.

All NEW reviews and promos will appear on the new site!

You can also check out my new, improved Facebook page.

Thank you for being such an essential part of this revitalized vocation!

Pioneer Drama Service to publish ‘Robin Hood: Naught in Nottingham’

Last week my son and playwriting partner Jacob and I signed contracts with Pioneer Drama Service for our comedy spoof Robin Hood: Naught in Nottingham.

LJ and RHThe play was originally written for the Developmental Disabilities Resource Center’s production last fall, and then re-tooled for upper-elementary/middle school performances.

With a quiver-full of gags, slapstick humor and hilarious anachronisms, this is a Robin Hood like you’ve never seen him — or rather HER — before! The vain and pompous Prince John squeezes the simple folk of Nottingham’s purses by raising taxes and ordering the Sheriff to set up a speed trap. Robin and her band of outlaws, including panini-craving Friar Tuck, sensitive giant Little John, girly-girl Maid Marian and wise-cracking Nurse Betty, wandering minstrel Alan a Dale and his cheerleading Bench Wenches, and more, turn the tables on the benighted Sheriff, thwart crybaby Prince John’s nefarious plans, and take the braggart knight Gal of Gisbourne down a few notches. There’s horseless jousting and a show-stopping archery contest with moving targets at the world’s first Renaissance Fair, goofy disguises, silly chases, epic battles with pool noodles, and merriment galore. At last, with a guest cameo by King Richard, all things “naught in Nottingham” are set aright.In the Castle

The show runs approximately 45 minutes.

My relationship with Pioneer Drama Service goes back 30 years, and I’m pleased to have them represent this show. This is Jacob’s fourth play with Pioneer.

Robin Hood: Naught in Nottingham will not appear in the fall catalog, as that has already been printed. But it will be available for purchase from the web site in a few months. Stay tuned!

Thank you, Pioneer Drama Service for your commitment to publishing plays and musicals for the amateur market.

Archery Contest

My ‘Plays and Musicals’ page has received a major rebuild

imagesI’ve completely upgraded my Plays and Musicals by Patrick Dorn tab/page on this web site. Check it out!

Instead of a simple alphabetical list of my plays, I’ve added play descriptions from the various publishers’ catalogs, and art work. For the few unpublished plays, I’ve added an easy link so you can click on it and request a reading copy.

Hopefully this will help me build my “brand” or “platform,” or whatever they call it. Let me know what you think.

One Night Stand Theatre to produce my short play ‘Peacemaker’ Aug. 2

One Night Stand Wild West

Great news!

I’ve just learned that my short play Peacemaker is going to receive its world premiere at One Night Stand Theater’s “Wild West” evening of short plays and stories, Aug. 2 at the Vintage Theatre. I’ll post more information on the production later, but the graphic above gives the basic information.

One Night Stand Theater is committed to producing new and experimental short works, usually around a theme. In August the theme will be “One Night Stand in the Wild West.”

Peacemaker is a short sketch in which a schoolboy visits a merchant to purchase a six-shooter, in order to gun down a boy who has been making eyes at the girl he loves. The fast-thinking, fast-talking merchant offers him an enormous amount of advice, so much so that the boy reconsiders his plan.

I originally wrote Peacemaker to submit to One Night Stand Theater about a week after they announced the theme. But I’ve also submitted it for publication as a forensics competition piece.

If you would like to receive a FREE READING COPY of Peacemaker in pdf format by e-mail, simply contact me using the form on this page. No production rights are included with the reading copy, and this offer ends immediately upon the signing of a contract with a publisher.

REVIEW: BDT Stage’s magical ‘Mary Poppins’ is a sweet tonic for the whole family

Mary Poppins

If Mary Poppins weren’t so benevolent, so utterly devoted to restoring a traditional but dysfunctional family to health, she would make a formidable wicked witch. The character is strict and unyielding, yet universally beloved. Her power to move inanimate objects rivals any poltergeist. She casually defies the laws of physics and routinely hangs out at the park with a bizarre assortment of be-wigged logophiles and pagan god statues. In fulfillment of every child’s nightmare, Mary Poppins brings abused creepy toys to life in the nursery. Her magic is so irresistible and powerful, when an actual wicked witch (Amanda Earls as the crow-like anti-nanny Miss Andrew) challenges her, it’s no contest, a supernatural smackdown.

The current BDT Stage (formerly Boulder’s Dinner Theatre) production of Mary Poppins: The Broadway Musical doesn’t shy away from the darkness, the incongruous absurdities and strangeness of P.L. Travers’ stories, especially when they depart from the comfortable familiarity of the film version. Veteran director Scott Beyette wisely establishes the character of Mary Poppins, played with grim determination and a twinkling eye by Tracy Warren, as a diminutive force of nature with a holy plan and unswerving moral compass. In a refreshing departure from what has been coming out of Broadway for decades, Mary Poppins resolutely affirms the sanctity of a traditional family: father as head and breadwinner, mother as nurturer, and children who are free to learn, explore and play in a secure home and safe neighborhood.

The Banks family is struggling to keep stiff upper lips in Victorian England, in large part because the head of the household George (Wayne Kennedy) suffered childhood trauma at the hands of the aforesaid nanny-from-hell Miss Andrew. His values and priorities are warped, upsetting the delicate balance and threatening to send his wife Winifred (Shelly Cox-Robie, and in the performance I saw, Norrell Moore) and their two precocious children Jane and Michael off kilter. The children are acting out and Winifred is insecure about her place in the household. Even the butler (Brett Ambler) is jumpy, and the put-upon cook (Joanie Brousseau) can only do so much.Mary Poppins 2

In answer to what essentially amounts to a prayer, Mary Poppins literally drops in from above, and before you can say “spit spot” the overhaul begins, beginning with the children. Mary’s principal ally is a jack-of-all-trades named Bert (Beyette), who has a talent for being in the right place at the right time.

Most but not all of the favorite tunes from the film version are there, along with several other less-memorable songs. “Step in Time” is a show-stopping dance number, and “Feed the Birds” can still elicit a tear. “Chim Chim Cher-ee,” “Jolly Holiday,” “Let’s Go Fly a Kite” and “A Spoonful Of Sugar” are musical comfort food, and the frenetic “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” suffers from one or two too many reprises.

Kudos to choreographer Matthew D. Peters, music conductor Neal Dunfee, scenic designer Amy Campion, and especially Troy Trinkle, who is responsible for all the flying — and there’s plenty of it. In addition to Mary’s airborne entrances and exits, Bert gets a chance to take to the skies, directly above the audience’s heads.

Mary Poppins, the quintessential nanny, sets off a chain reaction of crises that force the Banks family to reassess and realign their priorities, until all too soon, her work is done and it’s time to say goodbye. I can’t say that most of us would wish for such a drastic intervention in our own homes, but as they say, a spoonful of sugar…

Mary Poppins is true family entertainment, suitable and indeed, recommended for all ages. Don’t go expecting a carbon copy of the film version. Instead, consider reading some of P.L. Travers’ original stories beforehand.

Mary Poppins plays through Sept. 5. Tickets begin at $38, which includes both the performance and dinner served by the stars of the show. Call 303-449-6000 for reservations and information, or visit www.bdtstage.com.

BDT Stage’s 38th season continues Sept. 11 -Nov. 14 with Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story, then The Addams Family, Nov. 21, 2015-Feb. 27, 2016.

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!