The Nexus Point

At the Valdez Theatre Conference (yep, still writing about that for a bit), in order to schedule all of the plays which have been selected, two plays are programmed at the same time in different rooms of the town’s Conference Center.  If you’re an attendee, and not otherwise rehearsing or doing something else, you have a choice of two play readings to see – with the logical consequence that if you’re in one room, you can’t be in the other.  You can check out what you missed on YouTube – the conference keeps recordings up on a secure channel for.a few weeks after everything is finished – but as far as the experience in the room, the irreplaceable magic of live theater, you have a stark choice before you.  It’s one or the other.

Most of the time.

Last year, when I brought my play Before Vinson, the play scheduled opposite me was Brandon Monokian’s Echo and Narcissus Blast Third Eye Blind Outside a Diner in New Jersey at 2AM.  (And simply typing that out ate up a good chunk of my word count for the week!) As it happens, I know Brandon.  I’d met him the previous year, but more to the point, he is good friends and a frequent collaborator with Erik Ransom and Scott Breiden, who founded the Dead Playwrights Society reading series which I’ve belonged to for several years.  Quite a few of my plays, including Before Vinson, have been workshopped with DPS (which changes its name to Future Dead Playwrights Society for the occasion).  And indeed, last September, a few months after Valdez, DPS and I had a chance to workshop Before Vinson further with Playwrights’ Theatre of East Hampton, with Scott playing the lead.

Well, Echo and Narcissus (I’m not typing out the whole thing anymore) had further developmental readings here in New York as well.  And this past weekend, The Tank (a fantastic developmental resource here in NYC – cherish the ones that remain while we still have them, people), building off the success of one of those readings, mounted a full production of the piece.  And as it happens, since the actor from last year’s readings was unavailable, the leading role of Echo was played by Brandon’s frequent collaborator, Scott Breiden.

That’s right – while there’s now a few of us who know both scripts, and have seen at least a reading of both of them Scott has the distinction of being, to date, the one and only actor to appear in both Echo and Narcissus and Before Vinson.  Those two worlds, kept apart last year in a seemingly unbridgeable fashion, are now inextricably linked by one talented, courageous actor. He, and he alone, knows the magic of them both.

I won’t ask him which script is his favorite, of course.  That would be rude.

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