A few weeks ago at the Milwaukee Homeschool Conference I was privileged to see the very first stage performance ever of one of my books, The Midnight Dancers.
Around Christmas, a group of Wisconsin homeschooled teens had approached me about adapting the book for the stage, and with their encouragement (or should I say, harassment!) and help, I managed to write a script for them based on the book, which they cut down to 50 minutes in order to meet the constraints of the conference time slot. The play was performed on Friday night during the conference and I was so impressed! Even with simple staging and costumes, the teeanged actors gave a performance of warmth, humor, and depth.
The leads in particular were phenomenal: the lead role of Paul Fester is so difficult I had wondered if it would be unperformable, and Rachel Durhams's part is so large that's she onstage and talking for nearly the entire play. But the teens who played Paul and Rachel mastered the parts wonderfully. I was particularly moved during two new speeches I wrote especially for the play: Paul's speech to Rachel on beauty, given during a nighttime garden scenes, and Rachel's speech to Paul after the whole adventure is over.
The actors who took on the parts of Colonel Durham and the villain, Michael Comus, were also wonderful. Michael Comus in particular was so creepy I squirmed every time he came onstage! And the other sisters -- from bookish Cheryl to ditsy Prisca to shy Melanie down to the perky youngest girls Debbie and Linette -- were perfectly cast. And they all assured me that they had a blast putting on the play! I can't tell you what a fantastic experience it was for me as an author to see my story being captured and brought to life in front of my eyes. Many thanks to this troupe of teens for that memorable experience.
Since I have a feeling other homeschool or youth groups might be interested in doing a performance of their own, I'm planning to offer the script for sale, as soon as I work out some kinks in it. I hope to offer the script for sale at http://www.fairytalenovels.com/ with this arrangement:
For a one-time performance right fee of $50, a small group can put on the play for an agreed-upon number of performances: performances they can charge admission for and make money on. (This way I don't have to worry about groups sending me a percentage of the sales, etc.) The performance fee will include a downloadable file of the script which they can print out and copy as many times as they need for their group.
Since I know that there aren't many plays out there that offer parts for twelve girls, I'm happy to be able to make The Midnight Dancers available for sale sometime this summer. If you are interested in getting a copy for your group, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and that will inspire me to finish my revisions sooner!
And just in case you're interested, I'm working on a similar stage adaptation of The Shadow of the Bear for another group, who has a smaller group without a lot of girls. So stay tuned for more details!