Girl I Left Behind Me

Paint Horse Rides Out With a Bang!

Old Cowhand, his Paint Horse and the cow punchers

Old Cowhand, his Paint Horse and the cow punchers

The Girl I Left Behind Me drew over 430 people to the Pilot Point Opera House over four performances. Audiences were supportive and responsive and the cast got three standing ovations!

With each show, our 24 young actors and two adults continued to improve and enliven their characters, their delivery, and their team work. By the final matinee, the newbies to the stage looked confident and comfortable and the veterans were obviously enjoying themselves!

We devised new ways to entertain the crowd between curtain pulls, during scenery and mic changes. The Paint Horse was a big hit! (Thank you, Alex!) Calamity Jane and the Paint Horse invented even more creative antics for the last, big scenery switch. (See our Facebook page!)

Big Chief Heap o' Trouble and Scouts

Big Chief Heap o’ Trouble and Scouts

Compliments from the audience flowed freely, for the cast and for the original script and music! That always makes the crazy writer/director feel mighty good!

The band ~ guitar, keyboard, and drums ~ enjoyed the very lively addition of George Merritt’s fiddle, banjo, and mandolin. The music was toe-tapping, for sure.

The young actors benefited from some history lessons and a little cultural literacy. We oldies are realizing that the memory of our Western heritage ~ a subject in which everyone was once so well versed ~ is fading. We had to explain “dogies” and “cattle puncher” and “cattle rustler” and “noose,” and we found that the song Old Chisholm Trail was no longer familiar, even to many parents! And this is Texas!

We also had to explain the old phrase, “the cattle are lowing,” which is the first line of the second verse of the very well-known Christmas carol, Away in a Manger. We made a joke of the “lowing,” and thankfully, many in the audience seemed to “get it”!

Enjoy these photos, then click our Facebook icon and go look at all the “during the show” action shots on our public fan page. Leave a comment on the blog! Like a photo on the Facebook! The Paint Horse will get all excited!

As you can see, this rip-snorting, prairie Western musical was a lot of fun for everyone!! It’s hard to let the Paint Horse go!

But before we do, let’s watch Lilly twirl that lasso!

 

 

 

Sarsaparilla Sal, Calamity Jane, and Lasso Lilly

Sarsaparilla Sal, Calamity Jane, and Lasso Lilly

 

No Whoa Joe, Kate, Adeline, and Gil

No Whoa Joe, Kate, Adeline, and Gil

 

The City Slicker and Admiring Prairie Town Girls

The City Slicker and Admiring Prairie Town Girls

 

Philadelphia color

The Girl He Left Behind in Her Philadelphia Parlor

horsy

New Show Packs Pilot Point Opera House!

Full cast 2Yeehaw! The Paint Horse is really excited!

The first performance on Sunday afternoon, June 8, of The Girl I Left Behind Me just about packed out the Pilot Point Opera House. It was a very good opening show for this cast of 24 young people and 2 adults. We need to iron out some microphone glitches and a few lines and some backstage business, plus introduce a little more “scenery changing” entertainment for the very-patient audience. But the cast did well and had a good time and the audience laughed and applauded and seemed to really enjoy it.

After one more technical rehearsal, we’ll tackle Friday and Saturday nights at 7 pm and do our final performance on Sunday, June 15, as a 2 pm matinee.

Paper storyThe historic Opera House on the square in Pilot Point, Texas, is turning out to be a wonderful venue and location for FFP. Our first production there was the Tuesday night December 2013 performance of Sam Shade. It went so well, they wanted us back.

The Girl I Left Behind Me is a classic prairie Western set in North Texas in the latter 1800s, so we just wrote the town of Pilot Point, the 1800s Opera House, the original 1800s bank and newspaper all into the play. They are all still operating, by the way!

And the Pilot Point Post-Signal has given us some great coverage! The story at left was featured while we were still in rehearsal (so costumes were not all there yet).

Of course we took a good bit of creative license with the very real history of the era, since this is a romantic musical comedy, and an often slapstick one at that!

Please see our public Facebook fan page for lots of pictures and news and comments regarding the play.

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.