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Stage Door Stories recently caught up with Mr. Matthew Warner to learn a little about him, what inspired him to write his One Act entitled “Chess is Blind”, and why he is a fan of Jack Tripper, Chrissy Snow, and Janet Wood!

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

Sure — I live in beautiful Staunton, Virginia, with my wife and two kids, where I divide my time among family, writing, and partnering in a website design business. I also have two cats, a battered Steinway piano, and a strong interest in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

My fiction-writing experience is mainly in the horror genre in prose fiction, with four published novels, two novellas, and over fifty short stories. But I’ve also had a handful of screenplays produced — and now two stage plays. My website: http://matthewwarner.com

The Warner Family from left to right - Thomas, Deena, Owen, and Matthew

The Warner Family from left to right – Thomas, Deena, Owen, and Matthew


What is your background in theater?

Aside from a theater course at my middle school nearly thirty years ago and a college play writing course twenty years ago, I’ve acted in a couple community theater productions and once played keyboard in a pit orchestra. I’ve also performed and written for radio and have had a slapstick comedy produced by a community theater. I’m now a member of the venerable Dramatists Guild of America, which means I’m supposed to know what I’m doing. (If they only knew!)

It’s been a revelation to compare the technique of stage versus screen acting. Stage acting is large. An actor’s presence must fill the room because he’s emoting all the way to an auditorium’s back row. Screen acting is more up close and personal and therefore can be more subtle. I’m not sure which is better, having done both. They’re grueling in their own ways.

How did you find out about Stage Door Productions’ One Act Festival?

I believe I read about it online. I don’t rightly remember. Doesn’t that happen when you get older? I just had my 41st birthday.

What inspired or motivated you to write this One Act?

I wanted to write something that could be produced easily. That meant a small cast and minimal set dressing. “Chess is Blind” has only five characters — four of them speaking — and could be staged in a real-life bar, if necessary.

Aside from that, I enjoy writing comedy. I particularly enjoy comedies in the “Three’s Company” vein that rely on mistaken identity and clever dialogue.

How did you feel upon the selection of your Act to be performed by Stage Door Productions?

Happy and honored, of course. I’m also relieved it will be produced by a company within easy driving distance of home!

What do you hope the audience takes away from your story?

It’s not the game of chess that’s “blind,” although chess is an important symbol. It’s love. How easily we overlook a prospective partner’s flaws in pursuit of that perfect dream.

I also hope the audience enjoys the two parallel conversations and how, when they blend, a third conversation emerges. Isn’t that kind of what love is about, too?

What doors do you expect to be opened for you from this selection and process?

I would like to have more plays produced in the future, and having my script selected for a festival certainly burnishes my credentials.

It’s also great to network with new people. From the seed of one project, you never know what other flowers may grow.

What’s next for you?

That’s a good question. I’m not sure! I have a movie novelization “in the can” with a Virginia film company, a short story collection, two screenplays, and a stage play on the market, and other publications scheduled. Should I write another play or novel, or program another video game? (This is my version of writer’s block.)

Whatever I tackle next, hopefully it will be something fun. Writers are driven by boundless ambition, ego, self-destructive work ethics, and ridiculous chest-beating proclamations about their “need” to write. Rarely do you hear they simply enjoy it. I want to be that exception.

Be sure to check out Matthew Warner’s One Act “Chess is Blind” on April 11th, 12th, and 13th at 7:30pm at the Central Rappahannock Regional Library on 1201 Caroline Street in Fredericksburg, Virginia! Be sure to visit Matthew’s website at http://matthewwarner.com.