Looks like a lovely production of "The Giver" is running at the Clarence Brown Theatre in Knoxville.
Both Lois Lowry and I have said her book is the gift that keeps on giving, and I'm happy to have done a pretty graceful adaptation of it, but clearly what all these theaters and audiences are responding to is Lois' tapping into archetypal questions, fears, and deeper wisdom.
I'm just lucky to be along for the ride.
When I was falling in love with being an actor in high school, we worked on scenes and short plays by people whose names I couldn’t have told you then, much less now. We were probably butchering their work, but they were giving us the scaffolding to figure out how we might move the art, or at least ourselves, forward.
And now one of the greatest pleasures I get is when my work is used by high school students to figure out what theatre even is, to play with each other, to give their families and friends something to cheer, to see out how they might move the art - or at least themselves - forward. And chances are they will never know my name, nor should they.
Last Thursday as part of an evening of one-acts, I got to see “H.R.”, decidedly NOT written for high school performers, nonetheless wonderfully performed by teenagers to a packed high school house.
That it was produced by students in the same school my own children once attended was delightful.
That it was directed by the son of one of my artistic brothers fills my heart.
So I've done a ton of prep, I've got outlines of the characters' arcs and know where they end up, though not exactly what happens between their first lines and their final ones.
It's gonna be a tight, tough write.
I'm standing at the base of the mountain, psyching myself up to press fingers into stone and start climbing.
Happy new year.
Writer friends! Here's a head's up for properties and characters that will be coming into public domain in the coming years - so if you want to do your own version of Tigger, Superman, or Little House on the Prairie... start now to be ready when their copyright expires!
(Of course there are caveats - the Mickey Mouse coming online is only from Steamboat Willy, and Disney might still sue you on that one. Maybe. And the Superman available is only the original one from Action Comics, ie, he can't fly, he just jumps. So, you know, make sure you're adapting the right thing.)
But here are the characters and dates they become open to anyone to use in any way we see fit!
Have at it:
Mickey Mouse (2024)
Donald Duck (2029)
James Bond (2034)
The Flash — Jay Garrick version (2035)
Captain America (2036)
Wonder Woman (2036)
And here’s a list of books on their way to the public domain:
Little House on the Prairie (2027)
Murder on the Orient Express (2029)
Gone With the Wind (2031)
The Hobbit (2033)
The Sword in the Stone (2033)
The Grapes of Wrath (2034)
I'm doing a ton of reading and interviewing for a play on the opioid crisis among teens. It's obviously tough, tough going. But if one is the parent of a child who is still coming up on those teenage years, it's absolute nightmare fodder.