Short film turned around on the stage

A few years ago, I cowrote a short film called Oak Pine Willows: Superhero Rehabilitation Center, which we produced for the 48 Hour Film Project. We were confident we had a good script and, if nothing else, we thought we could put out a quality film. But not having some key crew members in place led to our demise and the short, while funny, did not meet our expectations.

It’s funny how art can take on new lives. My cowriter converted the short into a one-act play that is currently being performed in The Superhero Diaries II by Insurgo Theater Movement (through May 15.) The Diaries are a collection of short plays, each about 10 minutes, with interludes in between. It all focuses on doers of good, protectors of the world, and those with powers beyond mere mortals.

It was interesting to see a completely different take on something we had already made. Our version of Oak Pine Willows was straight-up comedy with quick one-liners and odd characters. The play took on an entirely different tone, one we would have never considered.

It was like a film noir come to life, with varying degrees of success. The weird characters, for instance, had some stellar performances. Glenn Heath’s portrayal of The Black Koala and his own archrival Dr. Game Hunter was vivid. We bought into it because he committed to it so deeply.

Filled with B-movie music and shadowy lighting, the world in the play was well-drawn — some parts were flying off the page. But like most shorts I’ve seen at Insurgo, it could have also used some editing. The character of Zorkan B, an alien trying to get home, was one of the best parts of the film. On stage, the actor did a fine job, but it just didn’t seem to fit in the overall show.

I appreciated seeing something I am now far removed from brought to life in a different way. It brought back some nice memories and also reminders of things we could have done better with the film.

Jason Harris is a local stand-up comedian.



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