interview with Amy Thompson and Sara Duke on the new Cul de Sac play coming to Encore Stage and Studio next month. They didn't use all of the photographs that Amy provided, or a couple of little bits from the interview, so we present them here for the world's rabid Cul de Sac fans.
Mike Rhode: Richard’s characters are children, but sometimes they are Peanuts-like children, wise beyond their years, as opposed to actual children. Having met people in his family, I can definitely see some of the sources for the strip. Amy, you neglected to mention that you’re often the model for the mom.
Amy Thompson: [laughing] Sometimes…
MR: Did you take inspiration from any previous strip adaptations like the Peanuts cartoon shows or Annie the musical?
AT: I don’t think they’re comparable in the same way. There’s You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, but that’s a musical and I knew I didn’t want to do this as a musical for children’s theater. If I was doing this for professionals who could sing and dance, I think it would make a great musical. This has a couple of random songs, but isn’t a musical. One thing that I did think about is a stage adaptation of Maurice Sendak called Really Rosie. It was based on The Sign on Rosie’s Door and The Nutshell Library. They took the words from Nutshell Library and had ready-made songs. He did it with Carole King and that was a Broadway show. They also did it as an animated special, and I researched it more and read the script and heard the cast recording. That had the same kind of resonance because the main character Rosie is a drama queen. It’s all about “me and you’re going to be part of my little show.” That was something that I thought about.
Sara Duke: I love the detail she put into this. The plates look right. Everything on their kitchen table is perfect.
MR: Could you see using older people in it?
AT: It could be played by people of any age. The main drawback would be that it is for a very large cast the way it’s written right now. You couldn’t do it with a professional theater because it would cost way too much money. It would have to be reworked.
MR: What are you plans for the play in the future?
AT: There are no plans. I hope to publish it. If everything goes well, I would like to approach somebody about publishing it so it could be done anywhere.
SD: The production team discussion about the toad zombies was really amusing and included: how do they move, what do their costumes look like, can they crawl on top of each other, how do they interact…?
MR: Did Richard ever draw them?
AT: He drew one. There was one picture of a toad zombie, and there was one picture later that his artist collaborator Stacy Curtis drew of a bunch of them. You don’t really know what happens with the toad zombies, so I got to make that up.