|Allie Darden and Brian Hampton|
Checking In, Brian Hampton's play that premiered successfully to an appreciative Actors Guild of Lexington audience in 2005, will be shown in movie form on that day as a show of appreciation for the author's supporters, cast and crew, and our own most gracious of gorgeous folks, Allie Darden will be among the attendees.
Color me chartreuse with envy. I love New York in the Summer, and I adore Allie and Bob and Brian and Roy. Dangit. Still, I'm happy to live vicariously through Ms. Darden -- she is surely to be applauded as she so richly deserves.
|I first met Brian Hampton at THE JUNGLE FUN ROOM opening night at Studio Players|
Allie says, "Bob is accompanying me on this trip and he's super excited for me and all of us! My outfit choice: I've got 2 choices in mind, just have to make the final decision. Gotta dress to impress! hahaa!"
When I told her I wanted to blog about the news I received in her happy message, she replied in her usual humble fashion. "A blog would be awesome, but honestly, I wasn't writing for that reason. You had been asking me about it, and I wanted to fill you in. I know how much you love Brian Hampton too!"
|Allie and hubby Bob Singleton|
Darden is "so very, very excited to get to watch the movie, edited in its entirety, with the cast, crew, and the real ladies who inspired these characters!"
"Checking In has been such a part of my life since 2005. Started at Actors Guild of Lexington, then a staged reading at The Blackbird Theatre in NYC, then a festival run at The Midtown International Theatre Festival, the shooting of the film in Wildwood Crest, New Jersey, and now finally, I feel like we're coming full circle with the VIP Screening in 2 weeks. I have been honored to have been asked consistently to play Brooke after originating this character at Actors Guild. Getting to know Brian through the creative and professional process has made us lifelong friends. It has been an amazing, wild ride! We've all worked so hard with each new adventure, and this screening is going to be so much fun. We can just sit back and watch. I'm so thrilled! I can't even put it into words. I don't know where the movie is going to go after this, but I know that I personally have achieved so many things during this process."
|I'm sure I'm saying something important here. Lol|
"One night, we were filming a particularly emotional scene outside by the pool. We kept getting interrupted by guests of the hotel out on their balcony watching us shoot the scene. They were so interested and kept asking questions and discussing things to themselves very loudly, and it was being picked up by the boom mic. We kept stopping and starting, and stopping starting. It was getting frustrating, and it was also around 3 AM when this was all happening, so we just hoped that eventually they would go to bed!"
Brian Hampton is anxious to reunite with his beloved cast and crew, too. He also tells me this play set the wheels in motion for his now-established writing career. "Checking In was my first full-length play I'd ever written. So it took me a long time, probably 5 years. It's hard to tell. I had no idea what I was doing. But I learned. I kept putting it down, and then I'd pick it up again, and then I realized one day that it was done."
|The play is set in Atlantic City, where a group of friends gather for a reunion of sorts.|
As for the setting and plot of the play, Brian admits, "The premise was easy ... and I feel like it's really relatable. Friendship takes work; but, if you put the time and energy into it, it leads to family."
So, what is next for Hampton? He has so much going on, it's hard to keep track if you're following him on social media. He takes it all with the same ease with which he writes. "Well, next up is my first screening of Checking In which I decided to
do on my birthday, July 17th. This is for all the major backers, the
actors, musicians, and pretty much everyone who gave their talents.
It's my way to show them the movie and to thank them for all they've
done for it. And to celebrate BIG TIME. It will also give me an idea of
what to do with it next. I've learned a lot about patience and
following the path that opens up, so I'm looking forward to hearing from
my friends and the first audience. Their reaction will drive the next
decision for the piece."
Hampton is eager to chat with his good friend again soon, as anyone who has the pleasure of knowing Allie Darden would. "I'm so excited to see Allie! I haven't seen her since we finished
filming 2 years ago, and that's just not right! Plus Bob is coming with
her, and the three of us have a lot of celebrating to do!"
|"Friendship takes work, but if you put time and energy into it, it leads to family."|
|"Gossip" is a new high school one-act Hampton wrote.
"Then, I'm finishing up my new piece which is a brand new book. It's completely original and completely wicked. I can't wait for people to read it. I'm not talking about the details yet, but let's say, if you know me, you are not going to be surprised. Then, I've got a new play in the works...but I think maybe I'll hit that after a little rest."
When asked where he wants to take his work, Hampton seems happy to let his art lead its own way. "Where do I want to go with my work? Hmm. I'll go wherever it takes me."
Brian had once told me his "secret talent" was as a cartoonist, so I asked him if he'd done of that lately. "Funny you mentioned my cartoons! Original Works Publishing actually chose my drawing for the cover of The Jungle Fun Room book, which is so cool -- and I just drew the logo for Gossip too!"
"Gossip is a new high school one-act I wrote. It centers around a group of high school friends who graciously befriend a mysterious and infectious new student. But, as stories are manipulated and relationships crumble, all roads tragically lead back to one place.
It's a twisted little tale about Gossip and the effects of it.
|Me, and lambchops Kathy & Greg Jones and Allie & Bob|
|I was invited to the VIP screening, but I'm staying home and playing my ukulele. I wish the cast and crew of CHECKING IN all the very best and hope it is a big smashy-smash! See y'all at the show...love, Kimmy|