Another quirky comedy 
by john daniels, jr.
Directed by Engela Edwards
Fridays and Saturdays
September 28 - October 20 at 7:30 p.m.
Bastrop Opera House
711 Spring Street, Bastrop, Texas
World Premiere Production
Front row:  Stephanie Thaine, Rachel Edwards, A. Wells
Middle row:  Lisa Picciandra, Lisa Holcomb, Keaton Holcomb, 
Jon-Michael Williford, john daniels, jr., Landon Holcomb
Back row:  Sam Z. Damon, Engela Edwards

News Articles about the Play
Primarily from the Bastrop Advertiser, September 27, 2007 issue.

...This is the premiere of another quirky comedy by john daniels, jr.  This comic play ... is being directed by Engela Edwards for EASY Theatre. 

Austin, Lockhart, Bastrop, and Smithville actors bring to life this entertaining new play, which director Engela Edwards describes as a delightful modern stage version of a road movie.  “Offbeat characters take to the road.  Fate intervenes and binds the travelers together.  Hilarity ensues.  In the midst of the laughter, the characters find friends and themselves.  As the travelers head west, the witty effervescent dialogue flies fast and furious.”

“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed working with this script and these actors.  The script is very funny, and filled with unique and unusual characters.  This talented group of energetic actors have really infused the play with their excitement.  The charming characters john has written and the actors have created are quirky, odd, and eccentric and very are fun to watch.  The actors do a very good job of blending the absurd and ridiculous moments with the real and touching moments, and they seem to skip effortlessly between the two.”

“I think one of the reasons this ensemble of actors works and plays so well together is that many have been in past theatrical productions together.  The newcomer is Stephanie Thaine, a resent graduate of the University of Texas acting program.  She’s just adorable as she plays a series of waitresses in the many bus stops on the travelers’ journey.  Stephanie is also amusing as one of the sisters who are on their own quest.  She is a awesome addition to our company.”

“Many people have enjoyed seeing Lisa Holcomb on stage at the Opera House, but I think they will be amazed at her comic abilities as she performs this lead role.  She has constructed a wonderful character while doing this very difficult role.  Her accomplishment is bittersweet as this may be her last show in Bastrop before she moves to Waco, so I hope many come to see her.” 

For Keaton and Landon Holcomb this will be their seventh play together at the Bastrop Opera House.  “I would say this is by far the most difficult role that Landon has ever had,” says their director, “and Keaton is now considering majoring in theater in college.  I think both brothers have a future as leading men.”

Jon-Michael Williford, is a veteran of the Bastrop stage.  He grew up in Red Rock and Bastrop but now lives and works in Austin.  Jon-Michael expertly plays two characters, the biker mock-pirate Barger and his twin brother Seth who is “cute in an intellectual kind of way.” 

Lisa Picciandra plays the luscious femme fatal Maggie May.  While in pursuit of chaos, the audience gets to see Maggie May as a biker chick, thief, grieving lover, nun, pirate, bus driver, and sage.  “And they’ll enjoy every minute of it,” says the director.

A. Wells first started as a technician with EASY Theatre in 2002.  He is a character himself, who quickly found his way onto the stage by the next production.  He is playing Morty from Athens while doing tech between his scenes. 

The talented Sam Damon, actor and local lawyer has performed often on the Opera House stage, but this is the first time in an EASY Theater production.  “We were very lucky to be able to get him for the show.  He’s wonderful,” say Engela.  Sam plays Travis.

Rachel Edwards started acting at age four.  The play’s author started writing her role in Interchange for her when she was barely six.  Rachel is now 11 and this show will be her 26 show.  Rachel has already performed for thousands of people in shows around Texas.  She is very at home on any stage. 

john daniels, jr. is a professional actor and playwright who now lives in Smithville.  Thirty-one of his plays have been produced.  john stopped counting the number of roles he has played after he reached 105 roles, but he says his favorite role is playing opposite Engela in his play Making Love in Public. 

“That just leaves me, says actor director Engela Edwards.  I love directing new works.  There is a challenge of doing something no one else has done, and no one has ever seen.  I am lucky to be in an area where new works are supported and encouraged.  I like solving puzzles.  New works create new puzzles.  For example, when I read the beginning scenes of Interchange in 2002, I saw it as a movie, so the sets were very realistic.  As I started work on it 2007, I still envisioned the realistic sets; but as the actors started bringing the characters to life, my vision evolved.  I chose to take the less is more approach, with a more theatrical less realistic set.  I decided the ‘bland in a colorful sort of way’ sets would let the wild broad bold characters really pop.”

“I’m truly looking forward to seeing the play in front of an audience for the first time.  If it keeps them laughing half as much as it has entertained the cast, then it will be a success.”

Another article:

Interchange, a comic play by john daniels, jr. is another successful world premiere.  This comedy is produced by EASY Theatre which specializes in new works by Texas Playwrights.  It continues for the next three weekends at the Bastrop Opera House. 

The all-lower-case playwright, john daniels, jr. has had 32 of his plays and musicals produced.  He also wrote two original songs for this play. 

“I am a practical playwright,” says daniels, “and my goal is production.  Having a director who wants to dedicate themselves to your play makes you very lucky.  I am very lucky.  Having a place to play your play is a dream.  My dreams come true.  Having a company of people who want to say your words, dance your dances, and play your plays is beyond a blessing, it is a practical playwright’s heaven.”

“I started writing Interchange five years ago, but something always came up; yet every time I came back to it, the script just made me laugh.  I had to finish it.  I was so excited when Engela said she wanted to direct it,” says daniels.

Engela Edwards directs this quirky comedy.  “Interchange is very much like a ‘buddy movie’ and ‘road movie’ performed live,” says Engela with a wink and a smile.  Much of the action takes place in bus stop restaurants as the characters make their way across the country.  “Everyone on the trip has something in common, and that is their love for someone or something.”

Engela Edwards and john daniels, jr. play the Laurel/Hardy, Crosby/Hope, Abbot/Costello, Kate/Petruchio, Thelma/Lewis type comic foils who journey together in this funny “road play.”  These award-winning actors have been acting together and playing off each other since 2000.

The quirkiest character in Interchange is Nelda, played by Lisa Holcomb of Smithville.  Nelda has an impulsive talent that keeps the others in awe, especially, Axe Blade, the hero with the hair, charmingly portrayed by Keaton Holcomb. 

Jon-Michael Williford of Austin returns to the Bastrop stage as Barger the pirate biker who is obsessed with Maggie the princess of pandemonium, played by Lisa Picciandra of Bastrop.  Barger and Maggie, along with their summer wards Sweet Pickles and Just Boy, are traveling the back roads of America to perform random acts of chaos to balance the universe.  Sweet Pickles the eleven-year-old chanteuse and philosopher is played with relish by Rachel Edwards.  Landon Holcomb is Just Boy a harmonica-playing, card-shark, realist.

Sam Damon of Bastrop plays Travis a non-committed Taoist with a sense of humor.  Newcomer Stephanie Thaine of Austin makes her first appearance in Bastrop as Mary Ann a devoted daughter, comical sister, and a couple of bus stop waitresses.  A. Wells rounds out the cast as Morty from Athens, salesman par-excellence with benefits.

“Comedy is a serious business,” quotes daniels, “and these are just the clowns for it.  I am blessed.”

Home Page
Our Playwright and Artist in Residence
©1999-2007 E. Edwards