Friday, July 5, 2019

"Rosalynde & The Falcon" at Culver City Public Theatre

Thieves enjoy some tasty soup.
(Photo: Nic Henry)
For the few months I spent squatting with some friends in Venice Beach, all those long years ago, I never imagined I would one day have a play I had written performed in a park, a mere twenty minute drive away.

Culver City is a bucolic oasis of calm in the midst of the Los Angeles megalopolis, the former home to MGM headquarters the city is tied to the history of American film. Hughes Aircraft was based here, today you will find Sony Pictures, NPR West, and Amazon.

This small city, incorporated independent from the city of L.A. (which surrounds it) is also the site of the Dr. Paul Carlson Memorial Park. It’s one of those one block, city parks, serving a modest residential neighborhood, the park surrounded by one-story homes, many dating back to the 1940s.

For over twenty years, Culver City Public Theatre has presented shows for child and family audiences in Carlson Park, free of charge. This summer that production is my play, Rosalynde & The Falcon.

Rosalynde & The Falcon is a mash-up of several folk tales, notably those that focus on a damsel or princess driven out of the kingdom in fear for her life and finding her way through unfamiliar surroundings. This is the basis for Snow White, but also Shakespeare’s As You Like It. There are also elements of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, and Little Red Riding Hood ... and a wide variety of other sources.

Originally commissioned and produced by Talespinner Children’s Theatre, this is only the second production Rosalynde has received, and my first children’s play to be remounted anywhere. And because it is such a fanciful tale, I was intensely curious about how it’s all coming together.

Rose Leisner (Rosalynde) & Ryan Hardge (Roland) rehearse.
I had a delightful conversation with director Marina Tidwell yesterday, who was not only able to share with me some of the design concepts, but also to give me a nice sense of what it’s like to attend one of CCPT’s outdoor productions.

With an uncomplicated set, meant for use in the out-of-doors for an audience of children seated on the ground and close, costumes are a significant part of communicating the story. Rosalynde is a goofy satire (in verse) and the folks at CCPT are leaning into the classic animated Disney character of Snow White; the princess Rosalynde (Rose Leisner) dressed in blue and yellow -- with a red hair bow -- when she first identifies as female, and then maintaining those signature colors when she becomes the male-presenting “Falcon.”

The script was written to accommodate a company of no fewer than six players, though so few performers requires double-casting several roles. Tidwell brought on two powerful singers to perform the several songs and to assume supernumerary roles.

When I wrote the play I included song lyrics, leaving the music up to the individual companies to create. In addition to playing the role of Rusty, Susan Stangl is the music director and has composed original tunes inspired by classic Disney songsmith Leigh Harline (“When You Wish Upon a Star”) and even an homage to Claude-Michael Schönberg (“Les Misérables”).

You know I love creating theater for the community, offered free of charge, presented out of doors on a beautiful summer’s day, and I’m just tickled to think of all the kids -- and parents -- who are going to hear my words on a warm summer afternoon in Culver City. It’s my West Coast premiere!

Culver City Public Theatre presents “Rosalynde and the Falcon” in Carlson Park, July 13 - August 4, 2019


  1. A pleasure to direct your play! --Marina

    1. Thanks for your time, my script is obviously in very good hands!!