A reprisal of the popular and controversial comedy called Couple Dating, by local playwright Cricket Daniel, returns to 2nd Street Theater this month. All but one member of the original cast are returning, along with the original director, Susan Benson. 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 theater world.
“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.”
Daniel bases her writing schedule off the theater season; theaters pick the production schedule almost a year in advance, so as soon as her current production is finished, the writing begins again. Daniel explains, “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 theater as my personal sand box!”
This is Daniel’s fourth play to be produced at 2nd Street Theater. The others were Couple Dating (2010), Love, Laughter and Lucci and Gina Galdi and Guest.