TeenStage, founded by myself and Paul, was our way of breaking free of the tyranny of adult run theater. The only qualification to be part of our troupe was age. Thirteen to nineteen, if you didn't have a "teen", then you couldn't get on stage, or behind the scenes, everyone involved was a youth. And our productions were very much in the PG-13 category.
Our first show was a double bill, two short plays written by myself and some ill-conceived musical numbers. TeenStage Productions present "Hanky Panky," I truly had no idea exactly how twisted that must have sounded to the parents of everyone involved, but nonetheless, we were rebels. The actual plays were less risque than the title implies. The evening began with the entire cast choreographed to "Star" by Erasure... This is the most embarrassing moment for me, now that I look back. I suppose, at the time, it seemed like a good idea. We wore pink and black 'rehearsal' clothes and the routine made us look like a class of mildly retarded aerobics enthusiasts. After that, we segued into the first play, a parody of the movie "Dick Tracy." It didn't have much of a plot but some of the lines were good. In my version, the Madonna character (Breathless Mahoney) is called "Breakfast Mahoney." When the detective asks about her unusual name, she responds: "When I meet a man, the next thing you know, we're having breakfast together... Why do they call you Dick?" The second play was called "Blow Out the Candles," about a wealthy old tycoon (played by myself) who tests the integrity of his heirs by faking his own death. In the end, everyone dies or is abducted by aliens, it was very Shakespearean.
I graduated High School and was working as a clerk at Rent-a-Flik and moonlighting as the graveyard DJ at KZMK, a local radio station. In short, I was going nowhere fast and college seemed like a good idea. I enrolled in a community college in Thatcher, Arizona, that fall. While the distance hampered my control over TeenStage, I was committed and worked hard on writing our second show during my first semester. We planned to stage the entire production over Christmas break. I came back from school with the script in hand, to present to Paul and the company. It was titled "Full Circle: the dream exhibition" and was as pretentious as this suggested. It was my first drama consisting of loosely connected scenes presented as "dreams." These included a section in which mental patients reenact the crucifixion. I had a different sensibility now that I was in college and it contributed greatly to the demise of our little group. We had several favorable reviews in the Herald, and I had even received an award of "Outstanding achievement" from the governor, Rose Mofford, for being the youngest theatrical producer in Arizona. Or something like that, I don't quite remember. "Full Circle" was the last production I did with TeenStage. Many of the actors went on to win Speech and Debate competitions, using monologues from my script, and that made me very proud.
But I had set my sights on conquering a new stage in life and I turned my attention to the theater department of my new school. Auditions for the first show, a student written piece by the current "It" boy of the department, Sean*, landed me the role of a waiter. I had three lines. But as rehearsals began, Sean expanded my role as waiter and wrote another character for me into the second act. I ended up stealing the show. I was a thief. Little did I know what Sean would steal from me in my own second act.
TO BE CONTINUED...