Snow day! In this collection of hilarious scenes we see how an unexpected day off from school can be an answer to a prayer…or not! Sweethearts Mark and Jessica aren’t feeling very sweet when, after a whole night of decorating the gym, the winter homecoming dance is canceled. Meanwhile, Paul is thrilled to get an invitation from Mary to go sledding, if only his overprotective mother will chill. Then there’s poor Julie – will she ever figure out how to get her tongue unstuck from the frozen flagpole? Woven throughout the many scenes, Trenton, a student, and Mr. Ruffino, his drama teacher, battle the weather and each other to get their copies of the latest game “Zombie Apocalyptico 7” before the post office closes. By evening, the school theater becomes the place to be when the power goes out and the generator kicks on. Using minimal sets and a very flexible cast, this sparkling comedy might just have your audience wishing for their own snow day!
BRYAN STARCHMAN talks about JUST ANOTHER SNOW DAY:
Q.: WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO WRITE THIS PLAY?
A.: I'm a big kid. This is my 18th year in high school (4 as a student, 14 as a teacher) and I still get excited about snow days. I actually enjoy High School a lot more as an adult and strive to make my classroom what I wish a high school class would have been like when I was a teenager, but even though I wake up most mornings excited to get to work, there is nothing like waking up to a snow day. Recently I've been working on a lot of plays with multiple scenes that focus on a single theme (like family life or starting high school or what animals talk about) but this play comes full circle. One the first day of my first screen writing course at UCLA the professor wrote the words: "Beginning", "Middle", and "End" on the board. It seemed so simple, but really tying everything together is harder than it looks (think about how many movies you've watched that are really great...except for the ending). Endings are hard and as I pieced this play together in my mind over about 10 months, when I sat down to write it the most satisfying part was being able to tie the whole crazy day together with the town gathering in the theater. Beginning, middle, and end. Maybe next I should write an adaptation for the silver screen...maybe...
Q.: WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE PART OR LINE IN THE PLAY? WHY?
A.: I love the plot line of the drama teacher and his student Trenton as they both battle to get to the post office to pick up their copies of Zombie Apocalyptico 7. I am both of these characters. I was Trenton when I was younger and I am Mr. Ruffino now that I am an adult. When Mr. Ruffino tries to leave the house and battle the storm he tells his wife "I have to walk the dog." and she responds "We don't have a dog." It's a simple joke, but the sort of lie I'd try on my own wife because I just can't lie to her and any time I've tried, she's caught me. I have to admit, I to have called in sick to complete a video game, but I've also called in sick to finish reading the last in the Game of Thrones series, and I actually called in sick to finish writing this very play. The more snow days I get a year, the more scripts I seem to complete. Ruffino is also my mother's maiden name and if you ever watch the Sopranos, from Season 3 on if there is a bottle of wine in the shot, it's a bottle of Ruffino Chianti!
Q.: WHERE DO THE CHARACTERS COME FROM? ARE THEY BASED ON PEOPLE YOU KNOW?
A.: As I said above, there is a little bit of me in all the male characters. Mr. Ruffino is basically me all around. The teenage couple in the car represents me when I was younger. I don't have twin babies, but the story the young man tells about playing basketball and losing to his father on purpose is something I have been dealing with lately in my own life. The overprotective mothers are a bit of both my mom and my wonderful, caring, lovely mother-in-law. My students keep my jokes fresh and my writing just seems to click better when school is in session, so I have to give them credit for keeping my mind sharp. As much as I like to think of myself as a full-time writer, the summer hits and my brain turns to mush. The busier I am, the more I have to write about. They say, write what you know, and in the summer what I know is binge watching Netflix and frantically finishing my "Honey Do" list of the day 30 minutes before my wife gets home from work.
Q.: WHAT DID YOU TRY TO ACHIEVE WITH THIS PLAY?
A.: As I said earlier, I really wanted to tie everything together and have the theater be the place that the community gathers because the only real venue in my own town that can hold more than 50 people (and is aesthetically pleasing) is our theater. It is my second home and was built during the Great Depression. My wife and I have put many hours into caring for the old place and I loved the idea of having all of these chaotic stories happening around the town only to have everyone gather back into the warmth of the one place they didn't have to go to because of the snow day: the High School auditorium.
Q.: ANYTHING ELSE YOU'D LIKE TO SAY ABOUT IT?
A.: Please don't hesitate to put this show on any time of year. It may not be snowing out, but we all know what it's like to have a day off and more importantly I feel that many of the stories that intertwine touch on themes that are funny or touching no matter the weather.