Pigeons By the Charles is a play I’ve been working on for close to thirty years. I have fine-tuned it to the best of my ability. I am proud of the finished product. I believe the characters are richly developed and the humor is it’s strength. I am ready to unleash it locally. I am currently working hard with some local theatres to do a staged reading of the play. If no theatre is interested then I will put together my own stage reading. It’s a show about friendship, love, and the tests that we go through with both. The questions will be asked. Why write a play whose theme has been explored countless times? Why write the same story, unless you have found some new way to examine the theme. I admit, I did not. I believe in this play and I believe the characters, the situations I have put these characters in and the humor sell this. I always believe any writing can always sell itself with humor. I like humor. I find life funny, so I write about those things that are not funny, poignant, or serious and find the humor in those situations to make a topic easier on others.
HOW DOES TAMWORTH COME INTO THIS PLAY?
True, this play is not exclusively set in Tamworth. It’s set in Boston, mostly at the Charles River, where Pigeons become the metaphor for its theme. I do mention Mt. Chocorua as the female lead Julie, likes to hike and I do set an important scene at the Big Rock Cave in Wonalancet. I mention the drive up and the South Tamworth Country Store, where Barry was proprietor for so many years. I do not mention Barry, but the South Tamworth Country Store is in the scene. I also make a reference to Mt. Katherine, named after Katherine Sleeper.
THE CONCEPTION OF PIGEONS BY THE CHARLES.
This show was originally conceived by watching the sitcom Mad About You. I enjoyed that show. Paul Reiser and Helen Hunt were so funny in it. One night I was fixated on the relationship between the two characters. I began to realize that these two characters weren’t just husband and wife, they were best friends.
Then bingo, I started asking a question? (Asking a question always means I have the seed for an idea.) When a friendship builds and later turns into a relationship, how does that friendship evolve within the relationship? Does it evolve? Then a further question, when Sex enters the equation of the relationship, how does that friendship change. We know it changes, but how? That question gave me a great idea for a play. Yes, this has been examined before, but I wanted to put my take on the subject.
At first, the title was Just Friends. I hated the title and since a movie by the same name had been done, I worked hard to figure out what to call this darned thing. It took me months. Then it hit me. The two main characters are constantly at the Charles River feeding the pigeons. The pigeons become the metaphor for their relationship. Bingo Pigeons By The Charles just seem to fit.
THE SIMPLE SYNOPSIS
Kurt Denmark and Julie Alexander are both Freshman at BU. Kurt is a Marketing and Business Major, while Julie is studying journalism. They meet at a college frat party. The two of them are at a crossroads. Julie has been dating the soccer frat brother Blaine Morgan who constantly proves how unfaithful he is. Kurt is getting over his relationship with his high school sweetheart, who dumped him over the phone a week before the frat party. Kurt and Julie share a common bond throughout the show, their love of the pigeons by the Charles. They feed them, name them, and watch over them like proud parents.
Through the narration of their two best friends, Chet Brewer and Phyliss Crum, we watch Julie and Kurt navigate the tricky terrane of friendship into love and marriage and how their friendship, love and marriage is challenged by the struggles of trying to have a child.
Chet and Phyliss meet at that same Frat Party. Chet is a Psyche major, while Phyliss is a Political Science major, looking to get into law. Chet is intrigued by this Southern Belle, Phylis’s sexual repression has finally been let loose from the control of her televangelist Father Sanford Crum. Chet thinks he has a chance with Phyliss. Phyliss thinks Chet is an annoyance and tries to avoid him. Through a strange series of occurrences, Chet and Phyliss keep running into each other, sometimes at a bar, sometimes at the Charles, where they become caught up in the pigeons. At every opportunity, Chet tries to gain Phyliss’s attention by Psychoanalyzing her. At first, the Psychoanalysis frustrates Phyliss, but, then begins to intrigue her. After a series of bad relationships with comedic results, Phyliss finally asks Chet why she keeps dating the freaks of society. They are further brought together by their two friends Julie and Kurt. We watch them tolerate each other while trying to keep Julie and Kurt together. In the end, after an odd drunken night, at Kurt and Julie’s wedding, we see what happens between Chet and Phyliss. Is it love, is it sexual attraction, or is it fate?
Hopefully in the future, COVID 19 aside, I will finally see Pigeons by The Charles on a stage. If there is any play I would want to be a worthy follow up to Crossing The Bridge, this is the play. Out of anything I have written, Pigeons is the best piece in my writing arsenal. I am proud of it and I hope when it shows up, you will like it too.
if you wish to read this play and give me some feed back, here is the link.