How a Writer Spends Her Childhood

First Presbyterian Church Edmond Nativity Play 2007 Author: Wesley Fryer , Much better production values than I ever achieved as a kid.

The first time I tried to adapt a story into a script, I was about 10 years old, and I had read this ghost story that took place during the summer at a beach resort. I remember the names of the living characters, but not the ghost, and not much about the plot. I can, however, remember that I could see the characters as people I knew in my neighborhood, and how I would translate the scenes into a live-action performance, and I knew it *had* to be done.

That’s right.  I was *that* kid.

The kid who got all the kids in the neighborhood together to do a play, and made props, and gave people parts, and got mad when they didn’t do it the way I’d imagined it should be done.  If I’d known that overly dramatic types referred to their productions as “their vision,” I’d have been all over yelling at those lousy kids who were ruining mine. I knew that there was lots of dialog for this show, so, I broke it all up with commercials I wrote myself, all of which I remember better than the play.

I have to say that the neighbor kids were awful. None of them could be bothered to memorize my scintillating dialog, and always tried to make me re-write things to give them fewer lines. Preferably so that all they had to say was “yes” or “I’m scared” or “I’m bored and you can do this stupid play without me. “

All this tells you exactly how committed they were to their art. Not one of them was remotely concerned with how crappy a ghost story would look if the ghost just decided to leave halfway through and not come back.

I probably should’ve suspected something when NONE of the neighbor kids brought their parents to opening night, which, due to the lack of a ghost, turned out to also be closing night. The reviews were not good, the best ones being highly guarded ones from my own parents who, with three kids in the production could not say more than “it was interesting,” and “we are very proud of you,” and “is it over yet?” Certainly, our parents knew better to use comments much worse than that. After all, we knew where they lived and one of us could easily express our “frustrated, artistic” souls on their sleeping forms.

I was never again able to mount any sort of production in that neighborhood.  The kids didn’t come over much after that, and my siblings fled anytime I started a sentence with the phrase “I read this cool…”

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