Wednesday, July 15, 2009

WWDD -- The HP Alliance in Los Angeles and the Dumbledore Movie Theater Challenge

On July 14, 2009 there was a HUGE party for the opening of the Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince movie. My wife and I went there and it was fantastic. I got to meet 3/4 of Pottercast, and members of the Whomping Willows, The Remus Lupins, Marked as His Equal, and Tonks and the Werewolves, not to mention lots and lots of Potter fans. Oh, and I saw the movie, too. I'll write more about that later, but for now IT FREAKIN' RULES.

I was officially there in my capacity as a member of the Harry Potter Alliance. We were doing the Dumbledore Movie Theater Challenge. I provided name tags which Bre and the Merch ladies handed out to fans to write about what they learned from the late, great Albus Dumbledore. I also shot some video:



video

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

SEVERUS REJOINED and the HP Alliance

Here's the latest in my series of What Would Dumbledore Do playlets. I'm in the home stretch now. Only three major characters left, really and I think two of them will share one play.

To be honest, this is the big one. This is the death and the set of revelations that followed that so much of the series hinged on. I was a little hesitant to try this one, since it's so major and there's so much to say.

So how'd I do? Um ... okay. Others could have done better, but I think I contribute something here. Hope you like it.

SEVERUS REJOINED
a very short play by Dean O’Carroll


Lights up on a playground. It greatly resembles the one near Spinner’s End where SEVERUS SNAPE first met LILY EVANS, but it is cleaner, brighter, impossibly perfect.

SNAPE is there. His eyes are closed and he has a look of great focus, as if he were trying to burn something into his memory. Eventually he opens his eyes and sees his surroundings.

SNAPE
I see.

ALBUS DUMBLEDORE enters.

DUMBLEDORE
Severus! I must say, of all the places I have met with people on their journeys, this is by far my favorite.

SNAPE
Why am I not surprised?

DUMBLEDORE
How did he do it?

SNAPE
The snake. He used the snake on me. I imagine he considered that an honor.

DUMBLEDORE
Care for a go on the swings, Severus?

SNAPE
Thank you, Professor, no.

DUMBLEDORE
Suit yourself.

SNAPE
If you have further instructions for me there is no reason to be coy.

DUMBLEDORE
No, no Severus. Your job and mine are done. Responsibility lies with Harry Potter now.

SNAPE
So Lily’s son marches off to his death. I assume he will be joining us shortly.

DUMBLEDORE
Yes, but, I hope not for long. Perhaps you have deduced my theory.

SNAPE
That the Dark Lord’s curse will destroy the part of his soul inside the boy and Potter will be unscathed? Yes, I thought that might be part of your calculations. You’ve gambled a great deal on chance and theory, Professor.

DUMBLEDORE
And before me stands perhaps my greatest gamble, one which has returned my investment a thousandfold.

SNAPE
Yes. Well done. Once again your insight reigns supreme. And for the rest of us, for Moody and Scrimgeour, even Black? Should we take solace in the validation of your brilliance? Is that our reward as well?

DUMBLEDORE
I cannot speak for the others, but I had never thought you joined our side in search of reward.

SNAPE
No. No, and I never asked for one. I sought only … only …

DUMBLEDORE
Redemption?

SNAPE
I will kindly ask you not to put words in my mouth, Professor.

DUMBLEDORE
Of course.

A long silence as DUMBLEDORE swings gently.

SNAPE
Is … she here?

DUMBLEDORE
She is.

SNAPE
And … him as well.

DUMBLEDORE
They made a pledge to be bonded for all eternity, Severus. The one silver lining of their tragic early deaths was that they would never have to be apart.

SNAPE
Then even now I am … I am never …

DUMBLEDORE
Severus, your life was painful, woefully short, and often unfair. I will never deny that. For your sacrifices you have my endless gratitude and my deepest admiration. But your life was not devoid of joy and you are too intelligent and mature a man to claim it was.

SNAPE
I … do not claim that.

DUMBLEDORE
Are you familiar with a Muggle poet by the name of Omar Khayyam?

SNAPE
No.

DUMBLEDORE
He once wrote:
A Book of Verses underneath the Bough,
A Jug of Wine, a Loaf of Bread--and Thou
Beside me singing in the Wilderness--
Ah, Wilderness were Paradise enow!

SNAPE
I have no ear for poetry, Professor.

DUMBLEDORE
How little you understand yourself, my friend. What was the last thing you saw in all your life?

SNAPE
Eyes. Those eyes.

DUMBLEDORE
And was that not paradise enough?

SNAPE
… It was.

DUMBLEDORE
Then perhaps it is time for you to be reunited with someone who is hoping to see you.

SNAPE
No! No, Dumbledore! I could not! I couldn’t!

LILY POTTER is there.

LILY
Hello, Sev.

SNAPE turns and sees her.

SNAPE
Lily.

DUMBLEDORE
And at this point my exit is long overdue. Farewell.

DUMBLEDORE goes.

SNAPE
Is he … ?

LILY
James didn’t come. He might like to see you later. But he understood that I needed to talk to an old friend.

SNAPE
I …

LILY
We used to have wonderful talks, Sev. I miss them.

SNAPE
I thought you had nothing further to say to me.

LILY
That was a long time ago. Quite a bit has happened since then. Let’s have a swing and a chat. We have a lot of catching up to do.

LILY sits in a swing and gestures for SNAPE to join her.

SNAPE
And … things will be just as they were?

LILY
Well, probably not exactly. And you know they cannot be the way you wanted them to be.
(Pause.)
But … a swing … a chat … maybe a laugh or two?

SNAPE
… Paradise enow.

She smiles. He sits in the swing next to her. They begin to talk as …

The lights fade.



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Monday, July 6, 2009

Ladies and gentlemen, we have a production!

Oh, I am so psyched! I just got word from Playscripts that a production of SALLY COTTER has been booked and the play will be performed November 20-22 at Plymouth North High School in Plymouth, MA.

I checked out some videos on line and the Plymouth North Drama club does a lot of shows every year. Man, there's nothing I love more than a thriving, active High School drama club. You can see a lot of their videos here.

I am thrilled beyond belief that my first production will be in my old home state, Massachusetts. That's where every play I've written since college premiered and I'm happy to keep that streak alive.

Of course, somebody could still come a long and ace 'em! Could YOUR school or theatre get a production up and running by October, September ... maybe even August? Plymouth was, after all, where the Pilgrims landed. American started there and now it looks like SALLY COTTER will, too.

Unless you beat 'em to the punch!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

SCRIMGEOUR OF NEED and the HP Alliance

Here's the latest. I know chess as a metaphor is way overused. But it seemed valid here.

SCRIMGEOUR OF NEED
a very short play by Dean O’Carroll



Lights up on a bare room with a small table in the middle with two uncushioned chairs. A Wizard Chess board is set up on the table.

RUFUS SCRIMGEOUR enters. His limp is gone and he seems to enjoy freer movement, not that he shows any pleasure in it.

SCRIMGEOUR
Very well.

ALBUS DUMBLEDORE enters.

DUMBLEDORE
Minister.

SCRIMGEOUR
Well I can’t say I expected to find you here.

DUMBLEDORE
Our conversations during the last year of my life were far too often short and acrimonious. Perhaps now we can truly talk.

SCRIMGEOUR
Fair enough.

DUMBLEDORE
And perhaps a game of Wizard Chess? As I recall you were always fond of games of strategy.

SCRIMGEOUR
Yes, yes. Haven’t had much time for games, but now I suppose it’s acceptable.

They sit and play. Moments pass.

SCRIMGEOUR
I didn’t give up your boy, Potter, you know.

DUMBLEDORE
I do know that. For that I am very grateful.

SCRIMGEOUR
Infuriating boy. Admirable, certainly, and brave as they come, but … unwise move, I’ll have your bishop now.

DUMBLEDORE
Well played.

More time passes as they play. After a moment, SCRIMGEOUR breaks.

SCRIMGEOUR
Death Eaters in the Ministry! Damn! How could this have happened, Dumbledore? How could I have let this happen?

DUMBLEDORE
You fought with all your might. We can ask no more of you than that.

SCRIMGEOUR
It should have been your job, Dumbledore. Robards is a fine Auror, but perhaps if you’d been Minister and I remained Head Auror –

DUMBLEDORE
You will never win a game of chess if you think only of past moves you should have made. As for myself as Minister … might I demonstrate something?

SCRIMGEOUR
Go ahead.

DUMBLEDORE
This will require a change to the rules. You will play with one king and all your other pieces pawns. All my pieces shall be queens.

SCRIMGEOUR
That hardly seems fair. The queen is the most powerful piece on the board, pawns are weak.

DUMBLEDORE
Kindly allow me to finish. Because I have no king for you to capture, any piece of mine you take will count as a victory for you.

SCRIMGEOUR
Interesting. Interesting. Very well, Dumbledore. Proceed.

They play a bit.

DUMBLEDORE
I’m capturing quite a few of your pawns, Rufus.

SCRIMGEOUR
That’s elemental strategy, Dumbledore. You sacrifice the pawns to bring you closer to your goal.

DUMBLEDORE
But, of course, I cannot make those sacrifices. For me, every piece is equally valuable and every loss equally tragic.

SCRIMGEOUR looks at DUMBLEDORE for a moment. He rises.

SCRIMGEOUR
Very well, very well. I see your point. So that is why you could not have been Minister of Magic? Because you couldn’t sacrifice a pawn?

DUMBLEDORE
Because I cannot see anyone as a pawn. Because I thought my abilities would best be used to teach and to make every wizard a king or a queen.

SCRIMGEOUR
You cannot win a war without sacrifice, Dumbledore. Would either of us be here if we had not sacrificed ourselves for the cause?

DUMBLEDORE
There we are in agreement. I have asked many people to make sacrifices and the losses they suffer weigh greatly upon me. But I never looked upon them as pawns or thought their only value was as a sacrifice.

SCRIMGEOUR
That is all well and good, but I see no evidence that your method is more likely to succeed than mine. In fact, in this game before us, I’m fairly certain I have mate in three.

DUMBLEDORE
But we are not truly playing against each other, are we, Rufus? We are two unified forces against a common foe.

DUMBLEDORE waves his wand the board changes so now his and SCRIMGEOUR’s pieces seem to be on one side against a squad of enormous evil-looking pieces.

DUMBLEDORE
And a number of those pawns that you have sacrificed are now on that other side.

DUMBLEDORE waves the wand again and the captured pawns join the evil side.

DUMBLEDORE
Most are there under the Imperius Curse, to be certain. But more than a few joined Voldemort out of a sense of bitterness and betrayal.

SCRIMGEOUR
… Shunpike. That was the sticking point for Potter. Stan Shunpike – spotty faced git from the Knight Bus.

DUMBLEDORE
Who now hides that spotty face beneath a Death Eater’s mask.

SCRIMGEOUR
He was there when they took the Ministry. Didn’t do much in the fight, but helped hold me down when they started with the Cruciatus Curse. Imperiused, of course, but … every wizard a king or queen, Dumbledore?

DUMBLEDORE
Perhaps it would be nice.

SCRIMGEOUR
And what do we do now?

DUMBLEDORE
We continue our game. And we hope with all our might that our side wins.

The game resumes.

Lights fade.



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