In a recent blog I discussed how I sought out music that challenged me, and apparently I feel same way about drama, because I was quite fond of The Sweet, Burning Yonder by John Ray. Yes, he had given me a synopsis of the play, and yes, I read the program before the performance, but knowing what a play is “about” doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re ever totally grounded…and I don’t think you’re supposed to be when you watch a play by John Ray. The Sweet, Burning Yonder played to sold-out crowds all five nights at the Fringe Festival this year, and to me it embodies the spirit of that festival; it’s experimental, bizarre, funny and strange at the same time that sheds some light on dark themes.
I wasn’t aware until I saw him perform that Don Volpenhein was going to be in the play, and seeing him brought back a distant memory. One night at a party I told someone that I knew had seen him in a play or in a film somewhere. From there I listed play after play and local film after local film, and I was beginning to question my memory when I realized what it was: Don appeared in a short film that was based on a short story I wrote and that Paul Grundy directed. The acting and the editing rocked, but I wished I had provided everyone with a stronger story. Eventually that five-page novel became a novel that makes me want to re-collect the entire cast of characters.
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