Directing: Guy J. Jackson

“THE FLIGHT OF THE BUTTER BOY

Brush Creek Players, Silverton, Oregon, 2005

Butter Boy cast

The cast of “The Flight of the Butter Boy”: standing from left, Lydia Quinones, Richard Arias Jr., Nancy White, Abrian Velarde, Mares Bradberry, Jacob Dickson; sitting, Laura Jean Riches, Michele Dahlum, Alfred Smith, Cierston St. Paul, Gary Roelofs; front, Taylor Bradberry

For my second production at the Brush Creek Playhouse I decided to do a play I had been carrying around for several years, a script given to me by a kid who worked at the Lobero Theatre box office. Guy J. Jackson’s “The Flight of the Butter Boy” is a romantic fairytale adventure full of invention and sweetness, written in fanciful madeup language, and I loved it as soon as I read it. I did not manage to produce it in Santa Barbara—it has a huge cast and would have cost me much more than I could afford—but I realized I could do it in Oregon for nothing.

I invited my son Alfred to come from Santa Barbara for two months to play a leading role and help me with the production, and the pleasure of doing it with him kept me going through some rough times. I needed 12 actors for the 14 roles, and I had a terrible time finding remotely suitable people who were willing to do the work. In the first few weeks of rehearsals actors kept flaking out one after another; it was very discouraging. Fortunately the play is a fairytale, and the characters are fairly generic, rather than demanding particular types and plausible identities like realist plays. In the event I did fine with all but one of the roles, into which I forced a willing girl who was really too inexperienced to handle such a big part.

The play takes place mostly in the forest, and a local artist, Jim Shull, helped us realize an exceptionally fine set; Alfred and I rearranged the flats in a configuration dramatically different from the usual box, Shull sketched shapes for the edges and mixed color samples, Alfred and I cut profiles and bought paint, then Shull came in and painted for a day, proving to be highly skilled as a scenic painter. I lit the play largely from the sides and floor, in eerie colors. Alfred was wonderful, as were many of the other actors, and I was delighted to have realized this delightful unknown play.

I have an intention that Fast Books will publish “The Flight of the Butter Boy”; or maybe I’ll just put it up on my website, if the author agrees. Watch this space.