The Independent EyeSurvival Tips for the Plague Years
Survival Tips for the Plague Years

Stories, with twists of lemon, that navigate the rapids of interesting times. A sorcerer’s apprentice, a trickster rodent, an accidental messiah, a sweepstakes winner, an aging Sir Galahad, and a toothless mother who stands her ground.

Written by Conrad Bishop & Elizabeth Fuller
Performed & directed by Conrad Bishop, music by Elizabeth Fuller
Two acts; 1m.

Produced by The Independent Eye, premiering Oct. 6, 2003, at Sonoma County Repertory (Sebastopol, CA). 9 performances to date.

A while ago, we played in an outdoor ritual drama in Mendocino County. In the woods, groups moved from station to station, confronting new surprises. I played the role of the Father Ogre, a guy you’d definitely want to avoid or discuss with your shrink. A few hours before, I’d been told that the last group included kids, so instead of terrifying them I should just tell a story. A story? I write plays, I don’t just “tell stories.”

But we’ve lived our lives on the premise that danger kinda works for us. We don’t court it, and we’re fully insured, but even if we don’t go sky-diving, we regularly risk utter debacle and humiliation. It’s part of the job description.

So I went out in the woods, groused about it to the redwoods, then started to find a story. It owed something to Disney’s “Sorcerer’s Apprentice” and something to the redwoods. That story was “The Wand,” part of this entertainment. And it gave me the urge to go again into the realm of the solo show.

My only other solo gig was Mark Twain Revealed, a telling of Twain stories, around 1988. You know, coming out on stage, that the audience is more terrified than you. I have to watch one person all evening? What if he’s lousy? Talk about the Father Ogre!

But that one worked. So again I come out, moderately naked, to see what happens.
—Conrad Bishop