“A Demonic Satire” is a growing collection of one act plays, conceptualized during my junior and seniors years of college. The general story revolves around the characters Phillip and Azazel, and for a large portion of the plays they’re represented by the same physical character. Phillip is a lawyer who becomes possessed by Azazel (a demon) during the opening act (“In the Beginning” – most of it’s already written, just need to finish it up). “Couples Counseling” is an act involving Phillip and Azazel visiting a psychiatrist so they can “get along” better. “Just Like Heaven” is a detailed look at Azazel’s backstory, in his own words. All of the plays should involve comic interplay and questions the level of corruption in humanity.
I started with “Couples Counseling” which I randomly submitted to the Grove City College TAP One Acts Festival in the Spring of 2004, and was quite surprised to find was among the four (or was it five?) plays selected for performance. I was then thrust into the world of theater, and strange and unusual place that I’ve never been fond of, and still am not. That said, it was a wild time. I tracked down a co-director through associates of mine, someone who had actual theater experience and was majoring in English. Someone who might actually know what was going on.
With co-director (Beth Lipton) in tow, we had the auditions, a number of people I’ve since forgotten tried out, and we narrowed down our choices. The main roles were cast to the talented Matt Swabb (Phillip/Azazel) and lovely Stephanie DeChant (Unnamed Psychiatrist). The role of a generic demon initially went to someone whose name I’ve forgotten, but then they turned out to be an ass about things and we were forced to go with our second choice, Jordan Chaney, who thankfully filled the support role superbly.
After grueling rehearsals (not easy to schedule when you’re an electrical engineering major, and have to work around the schedules of 4 other people) we were ready to go and put on an amazing 4 shows (if I remember correctly). We had one Thursday night, probably the lightest showing as most of the parents hadn’t arrived for the weekend festivities, and then another Friday night, followed by a matinee Saturday afternoon and the final performance that evening.
As stated above, I believe there were a total of four plays that were performed. Mine, and three others, of which I can only recall two. Of the two I do recall, both had “veteran” (for Grove City) actors, where as mine had all freshblood (freshman). While the two I recall were entertaining, I believe they were both by famous playwrites (Tom Stoppard, and someone else), and they were both somewhat entertaining (in my very biased opinion).
When it came to the audience response, though, they appeared to love “Couples Counseling”, and they were laughing the whole time. Well, except during the one showing, in which one person was laughing the whole time, and everyone else was awkwardly quiet. Apparently all the uptight people were at that showing… But at the other three showing we appeared to get the most laughs (though at least one of the others received a significant number as well, and perhaps my bias has overridden reality).
You can see some pictures from the show in the gallery, here.
Anyway, it was all around a good time. The success was so good that I was motivated to write a sequel, “Just Like Heaven”, that followed up almost immediately after “Couples Counseling”. I shall note that it was titled in advance of that silly Reese Witherspoon movie of the same name, though well after the superb song by “The Cure”, and later covered quite well by “Goldfinger”. That said, it has no connection to any of those things, save in name only. It took Phillip and Azazel on a voyage through time to Azazel’s origin in heaven where we meet some interesting characters. Sadly, when submitted for consideration to the subsequent One Acts festivals, it was rejected. I was told this was partly because of their desire to have completely new material (and not a near sequel), as well as the argument that it needed knowledge of the previous play to be enjoyable (though I’d argue it stands well on it’s own).
I’ve since fleshed out portions of other acts, but sadly haven’t been motivated enough to finish them off, but one day…one day soon…
Now, get on with it and read the plays!