God Awful
     (2009, 2010 - The Woodlands High School, TX
      2011 - Margulies Collection WAREhOUSE; Miami, FL)

What started off as a 45-second stand-up routine turned into a play that brought me everything I have today. Which, granted, isn’t a ton, but still. “God Awful” was a gift that kept on giving back.
Formally, “God Awful” began in Kami Jackson’s after-school Playwrighting club in 2009, which turned out to be her last year with the high school. I wrote the majority of the play on scraps of paper and napkins while on vacation in California. The first draft came together in between lay overs coming home, at an astonishing 60 pages. Thankfully, after typing, it shrunk to 25 pages. After some much needed revisions in time and length, it landed in the 16 to 17 pages zone. I lied to everyone and told them it would run “perfectly” in my ten minute slot. Thankfully, due to my ultra-Christian surroundings, my blasphemous little baby was given the evening’s closing slot. Despite minor controversy among my teachers, and change-ups in cast, the production was well-received. Only one family walked out. The cast, for the original, ten-minute short was as follows:


Performed: May 14, 15 and 16, 2009

Jude L’Chiam ………………………………Keith Hale
God Almighty ………………………………Tyler Lewis
Lyonal St. Regis ……………………Collin Sims
Jesus Christ ………………………………Vic Shuttee
Peter …………………………………………………Chase Godwin
Mary Magdalene …………………………Kelley Jones
Mother Mary …………………………………Shelby Escamilla

Directed by Vic Shuttee

Here’s a few pictures from the first production:


Then, over the summer of 2009, I expanded and re-worked the show with new characters, plotlines and even an all-out musical number. Inspired by my friend (who played God in the first two productions) who had entered and won a Texas-based playwriting competition the previous year, I submitted my new 42-page play, with the high aspiration keeping The Woodlands on top. To my surprise, the show was victorious! My technical teacher Tim Jackubek and I then mounted a second production, this time much more ambitious with a full set, music transitions and its own weekend of performances. In addition, we traveled the show up to Dallas, TX for the 2010 Texas Educational Theatre Association (TETA) festival and presented our little satire on a beautiful Sunday morning. None of the cast was smited, so we considered the run a success. But, the local paper did call me something to the effect of a “god less child”, so it wasn’t altogether a calm affair either. The cast for the second, hour-long, production consisted of:
 

Performed: January 21, 22 and 24, 2010

Jude L’Chiam ………………………………Josiah Miller
God Almighty ………………………………Tyler Lewis
Lyonal St. Regis ……………………Keith Hale
Jesus Christ ………………………………Vic Shuttee
Peter …………………………………………………Luc Armstrong
Mary Magdalene …………………………Suzanne Peterson
Mother Mary …………………………………Katlin Newman
Lucy, the Devil ………………………Cecily Breaux

Directed by Tim Jackubek and Vic Shuttee

Another set of pictures from the “revival” cast:

 

Then, “God Awful” sat dormant for a while. I began to nurture and care for other babies, like “Second Banana” and “I Now Pronounce You”. While I force-feed these other plays down society’s throats, “God Awful” continued to bring home the bacon. It was reviewed by The New York Young Playwright Festival, and competed in various other competitions, finally winning The National Foundation for the Advancement of the Arts (NFAA) YoungArts competition for me in January of 2011. I was treated to a lavish week in Miami, FL to study with such greats a Mikhail Baryshnikov, Bill T. Jones and many others. The highlight of my excursion was having Utah Poet Laureate, David Lee (a good old boy if you’ve ever seen one) read as out-there director Lyonal St. Regis during my performance dress rehearsal. Ultimately, I cast an acting finalist to play the Lyonal, to my Jude. Performed in the massive WAREhOUSE museum in downtown Miami, an excerpt of “God Awful” was presented by:

Performed: January 13, 2011

     Jude L’Chiam ………………………………Vic Shuttee
     Lyonal St. Regis ……………………Nathan Robbins


So, as “God Awful” began my pursuit and love of playwrighting, it too continues to expand and change. Names continue to vary, new relations are created and there’s even the possibility of “God Awful: The Musical!” You just never know. With religious satire, you can never run out of comedic material.

- Vic, Aug. 18 2011

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