Monday, February 14, 2011

A new reading

Yipee! We’re going to do it again – another staged reading of Reunion at the Wetside with “The Reunion Players” (just made up that last part).

I was amazed at how much fun it was when we did it at Orca Books. The turnout was great. They had seats for somewhere between 25 and 30 people and all were filled and there were folks standing in the back. That may not be the same as filling the seats at Carnegie Hall, but it was good enough for me.

And the laughter was loud and enthusiastic. I was astounded and understandably overjoyed.

I don’t think anybody was expecting it to be so funny. After all, the book is billed as a murder mystery. But it is a funny book, and it sounded even funnier hearing actors read it. Even after sitting through a rehearsal, I was surprised at how funny the reading was. The audience was laughing loud and often, and the actors were feeding off the audience. There was one shocking moment when… well, I’d better not say. If you weren’t there and haven’t read the book, I don’t want to spoil it.

When it was over a bunch of us went to Ramblin’ Jack’s to celebrate. Unfortunately we couldn’t get seats together, so we had to do some table hopping. All the actors said it was a blast, and they said they wanted to do it again. Now we’re going to get to, thanks to John Munn at Comic Book Ink in Lakewood.

I’m lucky to have such a fine bunch of actors reading the parts of three characters and “the author.” Dennis Rolly is magisterial and funny as hell as the author. Dennis has been thrilling audiences around the South Sound for at least 15 or 20 years. He’s a fine Shakespearean actor and a great character actor, most recently seen in “Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol” at Olympia Little Theatre.

Jim Patrick brings to life the womanizing Republican hero Jim Bright — yes, Republican. I think the first time I became aware of Jim’s acting ability was in the musical “1776” at Tacoma Little Theatre. Or was it in “Amadeus” at Lakewood Playhouse or Theater Artists Olympia’s fine production of the Scottish play? He was thoroughly professional in all of those.

Jennie Jenks manages to magically grow taller and older as Alex Martin without losing her youthful beautiful — ah, the magic of theater. South Sound theater goers will remember her as Sheree in “The Dixie Swimclub” at Olympia Little Theatre.

Chris Cantrell reads the part of bumbling crime reporter Harry Drews. Recently seen in “Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol” (with Dennis Rolly) and “The Goat or Who is Sylvia” at Midnight Sun, Chris is one of the area’s most versatile and entertaining actors.

Reunion at the Wetside is my fifth novel. Here’s what a couple of highly respected writers had to say about it:

“This is a more complex and more satisfying account of humans involved in a murder mystery than you may be accustomed to. ... These are real people with real lives, not the cardboard clichés of most mystery fiction.” – Jack Butler

“Clayton draws us into the book immediately with a mooning in a courtroom and it gets wilder as the story continues. With an epic cast of characters who come and go, this tale of romance between two elderly lovers is one of the most fun reads I have had in a long time. … Clayton uses his wit to give us, of all things, a murder mystery and it is replete with twists and turns as well as romantic interludes. There are subplots and more subplots in this amazing novel.” – Amos Lassen

The reading will be March 21 at 7 p.m. A Q&A and book signing will follow the reading.

Comic Book Ink
Lakewood Cinema Complex
2510 S. 84th
Suites 15A-B
Lakewood, WA

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