I came across Blue Over You at the Dayton Playhouse FutureFest two summers ago and immediately fell in love with it. The story of Francis, this incredibly funny and difficult drama teacher, trying to find his missing wife, spoke to me like few plays do. It’s everything you want in an evening of theater: hilarious, charming, mysterious, surprising, tragic, and wonderfully inexpensive to produce.
Plus it’s teeming with irresistible “theater nerd” jokes and references, really perfect for a Fringe Festival. When we founded Best Medicine Rep, I knew that it had to be our first production.
However, I wasn’t sure where we would find the actor who could play Francis. It was my wife who suggested that I take on the role. She pointed out that, like Francis, I’m happily married, that I teach drama, that I can occasionally be funny, and that I’m always difficult. She even offered to leave me so I could better understand the character’s situation, but lucky for me I’m not “method.”
Performing in a one person show is a daunting task at any time. But, when you consider that I haven’t performed in a full production since 2010 (my own Gianni Schicchi), and that I haven’t acted in a show written by someone other than me since 1993 (Tartuffe at Rep Stage), a certain degree of panic sets in. I’m almost inclined to market the show as “Come for the story! Stay for the nervous breakdown!”
Fortunately, the director (Stan Levin) and playwright (Dan Noonan) have been wonderfully supportive throughout the rehearsal process. I’m having a ball turning off the playwriting and dramaturgical receptors for a moment to allow the long dormant rush of performing to overwhelm me. Even more fortunately, our performance space is a bar.
John Morogiello is the Artistic Director of Best Medicine Rep and a playwright in residence with the Maryland State Arts Council.
As an actor, he has appeared in Irish Authors Held Hostage, Gianni Schicchi, Jack the Ticket Ripper, and Bushwa: A Modern Ubu.
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