Growing up in my family had all the makings of an ideal play. We didn’t have bickering, we had dramatic conflict. Everyone wanted something and was willing to fight like hell to get it. With a dark cloud lingering above our house on 1206 Prince Street, the stakes were life and death. My extended family of aunts, uncles and cousins living nearby provided a resilient supporting cast of characters. We had chair swinging, shoe throwing, go to hell, knockdown, drag out events. Those were usually just over a friendly game of backgammon. At times there were also many wonderful family gatherings, an abundance of incredible food both southern and Lebanese and on occasion we sang like the damn Von Trapps. Although not often, the heroes in our family plays would sometimes catch a lucky break. As my mother used to say, “The wind doesn’t blow up the same dog’s ass all the time.”
Although I have always loved to write, my playwriting career began with a timid call to a former college professor at Clemson University. This would lead to my playwriting debut. The university produced “August Flight” first as a one-act and then the next year as a two-ac t. In 2000, “August Flight” was Clemson University’s entry in Region IV, KC/ACTF XXXII festival, where it was nominated for advancement to regional competition. With the success of August Flight, My Clemson professors encouraged me pursue a masters degree in playwriting. Well, I loaded up the truck and moved to Boston to attend Brandeis University.
While at Brandeis, I learned that Tennessee Williams had written all the southern plays that ever needed to be written. So I wrote a dark comedy about four auditors working for a Big Five accounting firm who find themselves involved in an audit scandal. Brandeis produced the play in March 2001. (Don’t tell them, but it is a southern play.) After the Enron scandal broke, “Professional Skepticism” received its world premiere at the Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater. The Boston Globe gave it a rave review and the play was published in “New Playwrights – The Best Plays of 2002.” In 2004, The Boston Herald also gave me some loving when the South Carolina Repertory Company brought their touring production of “Professional Skepticism” to Boston.
I never adjusted to the weather and the traffic up North. Let’s be honest, they never adjusted to me. After 6 years I moved back to South Carolina, this time with a family in tow. In 2006, Centre Stage in Greenville, SC produced both “Professional Skepticism” and “Mama Mamie’s Departure.” In 2007, “Professional Skepticism” had its New York City debut produced by Zootopia Theatre Company which was founded by Brandeis graduates!
In recent years I have written an historical play, “Our Distinguished Gentleman” about Thomas Green Clemson, the founder of Clemson University. Okay, it ended up being a comedy. In August 2010, my play, “The Baristas” was part of South Carolina Repertory Company’s New Play Festival. During the staged reading, an audience member almost fell out of their chair laughing. Now that’s a compliment. SCRC is producing the play in January 2012. Hands down, it is the funniest play I have ever written.
In December 2010, for the first time ever, I directed my own work with a production of “Professional Skepticism” at Electric City Playhouse in Anderson, SC. It was a kinder, more gentler script, which is also available for productions. I had so much fun that I am directing “Mama Mamie’s Departure” there in March 2012.