Monthly Archives: May 2014

It’s Western Time! Ye-haw!

GirlLeftBehind _ Logo_TransWe start rehearsals today for the new and greatly improved and enlivened script of The Girl I Left Behind Me!

Some new characters, a longer script, more action, and some new songs. We have a great cast of 24 young people and one adult — a number of new faces in this crew. Lots of exciting potential. We’re anxious to pull the talent out of veterans and newcomers alike!

This is a crazy script! It was fun to write and I can’t wait to have a really good time bringing it to life. However, just beneath the giggles and the slap stick is a serious poignancy that celebrates the courage and faithfulness of those who came before us — the individuals and families who tamed the very land on which I now sit, typing this blog post. Those tamers of Texas can never get all the credit they truly deserve for what they faced, endured, and overcame. It begs the question — could we do the same again today? I’m not sure I’m up to that task.

The Searchers smallIt just so happened that, while I began to write this new version of the play, I was reading a new book by Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Glenn Frankel. Called The Searchers, the book examines, in a heartfelt and personal way, the history of the Parker family and the famous abduction of 9-year-old Cynthia Ann Parker in 1836, following the story into the 1900s.

Frankel then relates the career of Alan LeMay who, in the 1950s, saw his book of the same title made into the legendary movie by John Ford, starring John Wayne. Frankel then relives the making of that fascinating film.

Warning: the book by Frankel is not family friendly. Please note that it is a mature read, well researched and very well written. It is not sensationalized. It’s just that straightforward Texas history is not for the faint of stomach or the young soul. It’s very grown-up stuff.

Now our play is definitely family friendly! But here’s a magnificent quote from Frankel that I found, while reading after I wrote the script, that affirmed those thoughts one absorbs when growing up with “the Westerns.”  Writing about the groundbreaking and famous 1902 novel The Virginian (which I read when I was young, but not in 1902), and the genre of popular Western fiction, Frankel states:

Whatever the particular plotline, the Western was grounded in the enduring foundational myth that the American frontier was an untouched, pure new world, and a place to test one’s mettle and faith. The land was a metaphor for the mission: taming the savage wilderness, after all, meant taming one’s own soul.

As we have a fantastical fun time with the wild and wooly Girl I Left Behind Me, let’s stop and thank the ones who came before us! They are why we are here.