Saturday, November 18, 2017

Sahara Nights & Christine Shaefer

Somewhere, in the middle of Indiana, in a town called Greenfield (a place I have never been but hope to visit someday), kids are getting ready to perform one of my plays, a comic twist on the tale Scheherazade called SAHARA NIGHTS. Also somewhere in that town, there is a woman named Christine C. Shaefer. Here she is in all her glory:

She is one of the world's bravest heroes: a children's theater director.

That used to be my kind of gig back in the 1990s.... when I was young! That was back when I had the energy to shout (AKA project) at the top of my lungs, keep the attention of over fifty children for hours upon hours, work out the blocking, create a set with zero budget, figure out costumes and props (AKA visit lots of thrift stores), and play diplomat to dozens of parents who were convinced that little Suzy should have more lines.  It was exhausting! So, now I only write these plays.

But Christine is still living the dream. How she maintains this level of energy without resorting to performance-enhancing drugs, I'll never know. I do know that I am exceedingly grateful to her, and not just because she often chooses my shows. Although, let me humble-brag about that for a moment...

Christine's theater KIDS PLAY INC has performed so many of my shows that I've lost count. And they've not only done some of my popular shows, such as CSI: NEVERLAND...

They've also chosen some of my most obscure comedies, including my tribute to film critics Sikel and Ebert...

So, yes, I'm grateful that she and her cast and crew continue to perform my silly little plays. But mainly, I am just thankful that there are people like her who are still using the stage to bring stories to life and to guide children as they experience their first adventures in the Theatre.

These photos from their most recent production, SAHARA NIGHTS, show the amazing talents of the KidsPlay Team...

Here's their humble rehearsal / performance space. (They deserve a huge amphitheater as far as I'm concerned.) Yet even with this minimal space (which I believe they have named "the Dungeon") they can still pull off great production value!

Colorful costumes!

Carpets that fly! (With your imagination.) 

And did someone say BEATLES? 

So, thank you from the bottom of this playwright's heart! I hope that the cast and crew create enough memories and that your theater days inspire the next generation of Christine Schaefers.

1 comment:

  1. You really need to come visit and see one of her shows the next time they perform one of yours! What Chris does with that Kidsplay machine is really unbelievable! My daughter aged out but she misses it every day. Chris really sets the bar high for a director and expects a lot from the kids. Bobbie Lawrence