by RENEE PATRICK Cascade A&E Editor
Local playwright Cricket Daniel will open her third play, Gina Galdi and Guest at 2nd Street Theater on February 17. A regular on the stage until her relatively recent foray into writing, Daniel has always been attracted to the energy, passion and creativity found surrounding life in the theatre world.
Gina Galdi and Guest features Gina, a 34 year old wedding cake designer who is forced to move back home to her parent’s house in order to get her business off the ground. “I see it as a little of Sex in the City, which I miss, with current topic of the day – having to move back in with the parents,” said Daniel.
A play for mature audiences only, her characters meet for drinks and trade stories from childhood, work and…relationships. Daniel likes to create her characters based on people in her life, using names of friends and family members, and always setting her scene on the east coast. “I’ve never lived back east, but my entire family is from there, she commented. “I think in the humor back east, people can get away with saying things they can’t other places.”
From the Stage to the Pen
“I stumbled into writing in college, I think in my heart I always knew I was a writer but I was such a fame whore, I wanted to be onstage and in the lights,” said Daniel. Moving to Bend in 1995 and becoming a parent shifted her focus away from the demands of a life on stage, but it was a trip to 2nd Street Theater to see Michael Slade’s play, Garden Politics, that directed her energies towards playwriting.
Slade was in the audience that night, and for the first time, Daniel found herself watching the playwright instead of the play, “It was my ah ha moment, I wanted to be that guy. It was clear how much he was enjoying watching actors reciting his lines.” The next day she sat down on her couch, pondered the saying, “write what you know,” and began Couple Dating, loosely based on her experiences with marriage.
Daniel’s work on a production does not stop at the script; she is the producer, casts the characters, handles publicity and is present at every rehearsal and in-state show. “ It’s a hard job, every day there is a fire to put out, but I get myself on the radio, in the paper and I am fortunate that my daughter is in school full time and I have the energy to do it all.”
Finding the right director has been a challenge, “I have been told [by directors] that my plays don’t have enough character development, not enough character conflict, not enough meat to sink their teeth into, not much of a stretch for the actors… I think people like the fluff, they like a happy ending and like to laugh. My plays are not deep, thought provoking, tony award winning plays. I’m more of a box office writer. You will enjoy my play!”
The Write Way
“I do everything wrong because I’m not trained,” laughs Daniel. She bases her writing schedule off the theatre season; theatres pick the production schedule almost a year in advance, so as soon as her current production is finished, the writing begins again. “Right now theatres are picking their next season, so I need to get my next play finished by September.
“I usually have the play almost complete in my head before I write it. My fourth play, Helen on Wheels, is in my head and is done,” Daniel said. “I’m a lazy writer and work better under deadline, so I give myself a deadline. Some days I make five pages, others 20-40 and it comes pouring out of me. I wrote Couple Dating in two weeks, and took two months to polish it.”
Daniel is grateful for the support her family and particularly 2nd Street Theater Owner, Maralyn Thoma, “Maralyn is a mentor of mine…she went to Klamath Falls to see Couple Dating and brought it to Bend. She has allowed me to use the theatre as my personal sand box!”