Archive for Thursday, October 7, 1999


October 7, 1999


"Croquet" and "Writing Love Songs for Holly" are being staged as a collaborative effort between English Alternative Theatre and Card Table Theatre.

The flyers advertising the two one-act plays being staged this week by English Alternative Theatre and Card Table Theatre are designed to tantalize:

" " three guys shoot pool, shoot the breeze " and each other!"

" " three other guys shoot darts " and aim straight for the heart!"

The theater troupes are combining their talents to present "Croquet," written by Sam Ward Osterhout and directed by Jeremy Auman, and "Writing Love Songs for Holly," written by Chris Nelson and directed by Will Averill.

Osterhout, who received his bachelor's degree in English-creative writing in May and moved to Minneapolis, Minn., said he wrote "Croquet" last spring for a playwriting class taught by Paul Lim, KU associate professor of English and founder of English Alternative Theater.

"It's about three college-age guys who are friends and who are growing apart," he said during a phone interview.

Rick comes from an upper-class family, and although he is rather rebellious, he's conservative in his thinking. Ben, who has been Rick's friend since high school, comes from a middle-class family and is a straight-arrow. They meet Eric at college, and soon Eric becomes someone they can push around.

The action takes place in a bar, where the three play pool.

"It's about how the three of them are coming to the end of college and how their differences are separating them," Osterhout said. " " It's not a happy ending. " It's not a play written for shock purposes but it may have that effect. There are surprises and humor, and I try to be realistic in the characters, the voice and dialogue."

Osterhout, who is looking for a job in the publishing industry, said "Croquet" is the first of his plays to be staged. He is working now on a theatrical piece that is a series of 10-minute plays.

"I can sit down and write in big blocks of time -- four to seven hours a day, but not every day," he said. "I like to sit and think, and I call that writing sometimes. Once it solidifies in my head I can transfer it (to paper)."

"Writing Love Songs for Holly," which Nelson wrote last fall for another one of Lim's playwriting class, also is about three young men who are friends.

"It's about a group of guys who are hanging out in a restaurant," said Nelson, a KU junior majoring in English-creative writing. " " They talk about relationships, and one of them is having trouble with his girlfriend."

In addition to meeting the three men -- Cole, Jesse and Isaac -- the audience is also introduced to Holly, Cole's love interest, and Caroline, Jesse's girlfriend.

Although some incidents and parts of the characters are based on his life, the playwright said the work is not meant to be autobiographical.

"It's a comedy," he said. "It looks into issues and into people."

"Writing Love Songs" is Nelson's fifth play to be produced: "Sunday Morning" was part of the student-produced plays in 1997 at Lawrence High School. "Death of Romeo" was produced by Rubber Egg Productions in February 1998; and "Elves with Cookies" and "Sympathy for the Devil" were staged in August by Rubber Egg and Buoys of Freedom.

-- Jan Biles' phone message number is 832-7146. Her e-mail address is


What: "Croquet" and "Writing Love Songs for Holly," two one-act plays staged by English Alternative Theatre and Card Table Theatre.

When: 8 p.m. today-Saturday.

Where: Lawrence Arts Center, 200 W. Ninth.

Tickets: Available at the door or in advance by calling 864-3642.

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