Actors Guild of Lexington opened a new play last night, but not before I asked AGL Artistic Director Eric Seale to give me the scoop...since Blogspot experiencing 'issues,' I couldn't post his comments last night...but here's what he wants us to know about GONE ASTRAY.
Eric tells me, "It's by local playwright Walter May (who wrote BROKEN that I produced a few years ago). I was invited to be part of a stage reading of a new draft of the play earlier in the year for New Works Inc. directed by Stephen Currens. I really enjoined the script right away and had a great time working on it. It had some great humor and warmth and I felt a full stage production would communicate that even better. Walter and I eventually got together to discuss the idea as I was working on LAND OF THE DEAD."
As it turns out, some edits were destined to be made before AGL brought the play from page to stage. "I was about to announce the fifth show of the season (something very different), but upon discussing the script with Walter and some changes he was considering I decided to make GONE ASTRAY the season finale. It was a great chance to do something local, and with the time we had we were able to work the script through a longer rehearsal period. I couldn't pass up the opportunity to help develop something new."
Seale says the story starts out in the vein of the "prodigal son" set in the household of a well to do family in Eastern Kentucky. "George Claypool (played by Walter May) is in the road construction business, and has done well for himself. His wife Julia (Julieanne Pogue) comes from coal money and the two have created a good home together. The county however sounds like its falling apart due to poverty and drugs. Their eldest son Charles (Marshall Manley) is a lawyer who spends his time in criminal defense, but is working with his father on a political campaign to become Commonwealth Attorney meaning he would start prosecuting the very same people he's been defending. While George is pushing for a political dynasty Julie is trying to change Charles' mind. In addition Charles is attempting to court his paralegal Alison (Lauren Virginia Albert) which is another source of conflict with his parents. His father feels shes a social climber, while Julie feels Alison might be to good for her son. The younger son Albert (Eric Seale) has been gone without a trace for seven years. A black sheep of sorts who, for reasons yet unknown, was paid a large amount of money to leave home. When Albert suddenly reappears at his parents home he further disrupts everyone's plans... ."
Local playwright Walter May brings us the story of a long lost brother, a tricky romance, and clashing of family ambitions. GONE ASTRAY is a wry retelling of the story of the prodigal son set in modern-day Eastern Kentucky.
This original work was honored in Kentucky Theatre Association’s inaugural Roots of the Bluegrass New Play Competition. It opens August 15.