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July 8, 2013
Posted at 10:28 am

From Art to Theater

Tony's story is nearly finished. Oh, not tomorrow or next week, but I can see the end by September. At that time, I'll also be on the road (just 33 days from now). So, I'm thinking it is time to resurrect a story that I wrote a number of years ago and do the necessary rewriting to offer it for your entertainment. Thought I'd run this by you and see what you think.

Initially, I called this an "occult fantasy." That was long before the term "urban fantasy" came into being. And today, urban fantasy has come to mean vampires, werewolves, and zombies. This is nothing like that, so I'll probably keep the original designation. There are three books in this series (with a fourth "prequel" that I might post later on). Here is the storyline.

Book 1: The Props Master. College junior Wayne Hamel loves theater and has risen in the college to become the chief technician for the drama department. But the late nights spent on stage make it hard for him to stay awake during his 7:30 a.m. Cultural Anthropology course. Demanding Professor Rebecca Allen is not the kind of person you want to piss off, especially when she could be the one who makes you draft-eligible. But there is something else strange about the professor and Wayne finds himself drawn further and further into her circle when the cast of Hamlet is invited for a summer tour of Northern England. Pitted against this dynamic is diminutive Judith Harmon, a new student from England who becomes the fencing master for the production and Wayne's primary love interest. It would be hard enough for Wayne to deal with, but when his uncle reveals the world of urban witches to him, Wayne finds himself caught up in a mystical adventure that leads him to the ancient stone circle of Castlerigg where he takes the role of John Keats as the Vagabond Priest.

Book 2: The Illuminator. Ten years after college, Wayne is a working theater technician, filling in at a nightclub doing lighting. The main act is a young magician named Paul Paris whose act seems to go beyond mere illusion. To complicate matters, Rebecca's daughter, Serepte Allen, is drawn to the young magician as if she'd known him all her life. Raised by a single mother who spoke often about the father who disappeared on an archaeological dig in Greece 25 years ago, Serepte has the ability to heal people, but at great personal cost. When her talents are combined with those of the magician, the two are able to turn the world and find her lost father as Wayne holds the light that illuminates them.

Book 3: La Scéneographe There is trouble in paradise--or in Wayne's case, in Keswick, England where he and Judith have made their home. Wayne cannot get the world of Rebecca's husband out of his mind. Judith finally pushes him out the door and into his fantasy. As Wayne journey's from England to West Virginia to Chicago, he picks up wayward waitress Alice B. A changeling, Alice has always known she didn't fit in this world. Pursued by a slighted lover, the two find themselves turning a stage setting at The Blackstone Theatre into an alternate reality where they are subject to laws that they don't understand. Unable to rest, Judith searches out Rebecca's advice and takes her sword to Chicago where she assaults the walls of a new domain.

"The Mise en Scéne" series takes place in three decades, the 60s, 70s, and 80s. The reality part of this series is based on the life I lived as a scenic designer and all-round theater person. The fantasy part is based on the world I attempted to design. Sex is a small, but important part of the story (Wayne was in college in the 60s!) but as with my other stories, it's really about the characters and the conflict. Toss in a few metaphysical twists and you have the makings of this occult fantasy.

Interested? Let me know and I'll start posting in September!