Wednesday, July 14, 2010


I'm back to blogging after a four-month break in which I practiced my other hobby: acting. I didn't just have a small role in the Moss Hart and George S Kaufman comedy THE MAN WHO CAME TO DINNER. I produced and directed it.

I had two friends who helped because, like me, they believed in the play and wanted to see it performed (as well as act in it). However, the burden of doing everything--or seeing that it got done--fell almost exclusively on my shoulders. My wonderful husband built the set and the mummy-case, but I was producer, publicity person and director all at once. I had to find furniture for the set, design the newspaper ad, prepare and print the program, hire the restaurant for the cast party (and the two lunches I provided for the cast), join the Desert Theatre League and make sure the judges had free tickets, pay the royalty for the play, get people to sell tickets, people to provide props, costumes and makeup, and also keep track of every expense. There were almost fifty receipts just from Lowe's and Home Depot for building the set. I barely slept at night. I'd wake up at five a.m. and not be able to go back to sleep because my mind whirled with all the things I had to do that day.

The play was performed Thursday through Sunday, June 10-13, on the ballroom stage here in our residential complex, and it was a great success, with people claiming it was the best they'd ever seen here. Four playgoers left their names and e-mail addresses so they could be notified of our next one.

The point, however, is that many writers are good actors and actors frequently write good books. My writer friends here are also good actors, and that's certainly true among stage and screen actors who write books. My theory for why this is so is based on the fact that good authors often visualize the scenes they write, "act it out" in their minds. And actors, having appeared in some good plays, begin to have a feel for what makes an interesting premise or scene.

I don't think I'll direct another play, but my next project is to combine these elements. I've just been elected chairman of Repertory Players, a group of actors who perform short "staged readings" at free shows here four times a year. Furthermore, I'm going to urge the Writers Circle (the club I started four years ago) to write short skits and one-act plays that will be performed by those actors. And, as if you hadn't already guessed, some members are already in both groups.

Meanwhile, I'm back to writing both mystery and romantic suspense books and looking forward to a busy, fun year.