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Diane Sampson brings to us her One Act entitled “What’s True.” This story centers on a gentleman named Marcus who is afflicted with a life threatening illness. Two forms of perspective come to a head between Marcus and his daughter Lily concerning his situation – one of hope and one of resignation. This thought provoking piece questions who is right and what is true. Is anyone? Does is depend on your perspective?

Stage Door Stories recently caught up with Diane to learn more about her inspiration for writing “What’s True” and why one might not be a mathematician but can still write a great play!

1. Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I grew up in the Midwest, went to college back East, and came to California to attend graduate school in Creative Writing. After receiving my M.A., I worked for a number of years as an editor and a publicist, all the while planning (as do thousands of others) on writing the “Great American Novel,” which it seems I have not yet done. I also developed a one-woman cabaret act, and performed in local Bay Area clubs.

2. What is your background in theater?

Through a series of unlikely events, I somehow found myself in the world of arts administration, and I became the General Manager of San Francisco’s Eureka Theatre, birthplace of “Angels In America” (though I had already left by then to have my first child). It was during my time at the Eureka, however, that I realized my writing skills, such as they were, were better suited to playwriting than other forms. In the years that followed, I had another child and, between making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and driving carpools, turned my attention to writing for the theater. Three full-length musicals, three full-length plays, and about fifty short plays later, here I am.

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

Heard about the Festival through Insights for Playwrights, a listserve to which I subscribe.

(From L-R) The director, the composer, and Diane, the librettist/lyricist, at a rehearsal of "Sleeping Cutie, a Fractured Fairy Tale Musical," produced in San Francisco last spring.

(From L-R) The director, the composer, and Diane, the librettist/lyricist, at a rehearsal of “Sleeping Cutie, a Fractured Fairy Tale Musical,” produced in San Francisco last spring.

4. What inspired or motivated you to write this One Act

I’ve always been horrible in math, and when I was challenged, along with a group of playwright colleagues, to write a “math-related” play, I opted to explore my fantasy of how a brilliant mathematician might respond to a diagnosis of a terminal illness. This allowed me to delve into the question of how people with very different belief systems react when there’s a crisis. So, enter the mathematician father who deals in what he thinks of as statistical facts and probabilities, and the college student daughter whose study of Native American traditions gives her a reason to have hope. No right or wrong here, but a common denominator of familial love.

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

When I found that “What’s True” was among the selected plays, of course I felt extremely happy and honored.

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

I hope whoever sees the play will come away moved and wanting to talk about the issues the piece raises.

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

Not sure about what doors might be opened, but certainly the audience response to the play will help me know if it needs further work or is effective as it is. That’s always helpful.

8. What’s next for you?

I’ve got a short play being done in Santa Barbara in April, and another being done in San Diego in May. In the meantime, I’m working on the second draft of a full-length, “What We Owe and to Whom We Owe It,” and beginning to shop around my musical, “Sleeping Cutie.” It was produced in San Francisco last May, but it would be great to have a production elsewhere.

Be sure to see this show and determine for yourself What's True.

Be sure to see this show and determine for yourself What’s True. Does it ultimately depend on your perspective?

Come check out this thought provoking One Act on the 3rd floor of the Kitt Creative Studios at 810 Caroline Street in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Performances will be at 7:30 PM on Thursday, March 26th, Friday, March 27th, and Saturday, March 28th.

Click on any of the dates above to get your tickets now!

Be sure to give Diane your feedback on the show or just say hello to her via email at dianehsampson@me.com.

2nd image courtesy of ezruby.com

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