PLAYS By Dean
I began writing for the stage while studying Theatre Arts at Mount Royal in 1989. Sixteen years later, I had the opportunity to write an adaptation of “Grease” in Kayseri, Turkey. I had to do it, really. The lovely but misguided Turkish English teachers thought it would be an excellent play to do with their students, who ranged from 11- 15 years old… In one of Turkey’s more conservative cities… They loved the songs (“Summer Nights”, “Hopelessly Devoted”, you know ‘em… you love ‘em too) but the language barrier hid the sexual themes of the play, the references to teen sex escaped them. They expected me to direct the play, in fact they hired me because of my experience in theatre. I explained the dirtier, more “adult” parts and that it would have to be adapted -for the audience and the kids, but they insisted that this was the play they wanted to do at the year-end performance. I suggested other plays, they refused, but allowed me to “clean up” some of the dialogue. But the songs (all but “Look at Me, I’m Sandra Dee”) had to stay. There were about twice as many kids auditioning so, in order to give all of them the chance to perform, I wrote a few more lines and scenes (including a gang fight/dance scene inspired by “West Side Story”) to make it more interesting and fun for the kids. The language barrier turned out to be a good thing in the end, and everybody loved the show and nobody complained or protested…
I moved to Izmir, a far less conservative city, the following year to work for a private language school, and a year after that I started working at another high school, where I was asked to direct an English play for the year-end performance. I found a good modern English version of Romeo and Juliet. We turned out a grand spectacle and the students, the school and the parents were all extremely pleased with the results. The school even asked me to become a Board Member, to advise on things artistic (and English).
The play was once again a smash hit and served to inspire me to write more. After that experience, I adapted Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” into modern English for the next year’s production.
Since then, I worked with a Turkish performer on an adaptation/translation of “A Shepherd’s Tale”, and I’ve begun working on a similar adaptation of “The Merchant of Venice” for a production in Germany. Unfortunately, I left the city where I had hoped to produce the play but I hope to be able to put it on in my new hometown in the next year.
Below is a list of titles I’ve written or co-written which are available for very low performance royalty fees. Contact me using the form and I’ll be happy to discuss permissions.
Comedy. One act, 20- 30 minutes.
Cast= Two characters (1 male, twenties; 1 female 20-35)
A lonely young man musters the courage to call an escort service. When the young lady arrives, he’s not sure if he doesn’t already know her.
This play was my first effort at writing a one-act and received the “Audience Favourite Award” at The Calgary One Act Festival in 1990.
The Gift of the Thief
(Translated/written with Suayip Unsal)
Comedy in one act (50 minutes). An adaptation of the classicstory “A Shepherd’s Tale”.
Cast= 6 adult characters (m/f)
A modern English adaptation of the great Shakespeare drama.
Like a Girl
(Written with Evan James Coate)
Drama for Teens.
Cast= 10+ tween/teenagers
A story that explores gender stereotypes in the lives of youths, written for middle school-aged children.
The Merchant of Venice- Another modern English adaptation of the great Shakespeare comedy/drama.
(currently in development)