POLAR BEARS: a story of Fatherhood, Funerals, and Santa Claus
Performed by Mark Bradbury • Written and directed by David Templeton
STATUS: After its world premier at Main Stage West in Sebastopol in December 2015, directed by Sheri Lee Miller, ‘Polar Bears’ was produced again the following year by Sonoma Arts Live in Sonoma. Both runs were performed by the author. Last year, ‘Polar Bears’ was revived with an award-nominated performance by Chris Schloemp, with David Templeton directing the show at The Belrose in San Rafael and Left Edge Theatre in Santa Rosa. Templeton then directed a six-show run of the play in December 2019 at Left Edge Theatre featuring Mark Bradbury.
Polar Bears’ is a story I decided years ago to write as my first solo show after ‘Wretch Like Me.’ It is based on a series of outrageous, touching, heartbreaking, and hilarious events that occurred during the Christmas season of 1994, when my family was dealing with a recent tragedy. During that season, I decided that the best way to make things better… was Santa Claus. Actually, the story really begins when I stopped believing in Santa Claus—at the age of four. The title of the show—which is not about polar bears—is just one of several sweet surprises layered into this magical, moving one-man-show.
STATUS: After having its first staged reading at the SF Olympians Festival in October 2016 at EXIT Theatre in San Francisco, directed by Adam Palafox, the play had a workshop run in March 2017 at Left Edge Theater in Santa Rosa, directed by Nick Sholley. ‘Drumming with Anubis’ had its world premiere production at Left Edge Theatre from June 7 – 30, 2019. The show has been nominated for numerous awards by the Marquee Theater Journalists Association, including Outstanding Comedy Production. In August 2020, New York acting coach Ted Wold presented a two-show Zoom live streaming production of the show directed by William Windle.
At a remote campsite in the deep woods, the four remaining members of a once-thriving neo-pagan male bonding society meet for what might be their final gathering after more than thirty years. The “brotherhood,” all in middle-to-not-so-middle age, are not the men they once were, in many ways, On the agenda for the annual weekend-long ritual: the traditional only-half-serious chants to various classical gods (“Who’s the Sun God? Who’s the Fun God? Ra! Ra! Ra-ra-ra!”), the annual fraternal check in and individual Masculine-Spiritual Mission Statements, and the “Words of Honor” to commemorate the recent passing of their founding father and leader, who recently killed himself. The one upbeat factor is the presence of a new member, the first “first-timer” the group has had in years. Each brother assumes that “The New Bitch,” as he introduced himself upon walking in out of the woods, is the guest of one of the other members, until he finally introduces himself, not as “the new bitch,” but as Anubis, the Egyptian God of Funeral and Mummification, who they have accidentally summoned to their circle. What follows is a campfire meeting like none the few mortality-fearing brothers ever expected, in which Anubis alternately goads, taunts and terrifies them, offers a word or two of wisdom from beyond the grave, all while completely messing with their heads is ways that are probably friendly, but possibly not. ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
‘GALATEA’: a new play by David Templeton
STATUS: This play was scheduled to have its world premiere in March of 2020 at Spreckels Performing Arts Center. It was to be directed by Marty Pistone. It was shutterred due to the pandemic.
On a space station orbiting above Earth, Dr. Mailer – an expert on training synthetic humans to appear more authentically organic – meets her most challenging case. Seventy-One, a low-level technician on the long-vanished research vessel Galatea, has been found drifting in space in an ancient escape craft. Apparently the only surviving member of the doomed ship’s synthetic crew – and the only witness to what took place there, or to what happened to the Galatea’s 1,800 human inhabitants – Seventy-One must first be reoriented to a world she’s never known. Gradually, through a series of humanization exercises and “therapy” sessions, Dr. Mailer uncovers the shocking truth buried in her client’s damaged memory banks, one that will not only determine whether Seventy-One is a victim or a killer, but could also, terrifyingly, forever alter the future course of humanity.
‘QUESTIONS & ANSWERS‘: a short story by David Templeton
STATUS: The story was published in the anthology ‘Tales from a Talking Board’ (Word Horde Books) in October of 2017. David plans to write more Otherside stories for a possible upcoming collection.
In Otherside, the vast city where dead people find themselves congregating after crossing the Void, a group of students attend the first day of Ouija Board training at Otherside University. Taught by an overly excited fellow named Doug, the students soon learn the do’s and don’ts of Ouija Board operation, and hear one outrageous cautionary tale involving Mark Twain, Bill W., and Alice Cooper.
STATUS: The novella was published in 2016 in the anthology ‘Eternal Frankenstein’ (Word Horde Books). The stage adaptation was produced in October 2017 at Main Stage West in Sebastopol, directed by Elizabeth Craven, and featured Sheri Lee Miller as Mary Shelley. The paperback edition of ‘Eternal Frankenstein’ was released in February 2018.
Mary Shelley is dead. Or so she assumes. When the author of ‘Frankenstein’ finds herself haunting her own grave in an abandoned graveyard near the sea, she reluctantly accepts the challenge of reviewing her tumultuous life, including her bittersweet love of her husband, the poet Percy Shelley, and the many losses that fueled her furious drive to create something lasting and eternal. As she wanders the graveyard, making casual friends with names on the surrounding tombstones, the story of her life begins to unveil strong, unexpected connections to the tale of the Creature, her greatest and most personal creation. Eventually, as those two stories continue to intertwine—and Mary recalls the back-stories she conceived but never wrote for the Creature’s various limbs and organs—she discovers the courage to face her most painful memories, ultimately revealing a few stunning secrets, and perhaps making one or two terrifying discoveries along the way.
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