Here is the latest in a series of annual letters from Agatha McGee to supporters of the Jon Hassler Theater:
Staggerford MN 56470
By this time Iím sure youíve come to expect this annual letter from me. This year Iím happy to report that the Jon Hassler Theater in Plainview, Minnesota, has succeeded to the point where it is offering stage productions year Ďround. I am less happy to tell you, however, that next summerís Hassler presentation will be Dear James, a tale Iíd just as soon forget because it features me as the main character and brings such a flood of memories to mind, not all of them good.
The playwright, incidentally, seems to have been writing plays against his will. Sally Childs, artistic director of the Theater, has unearthed a letter she received nine years ago in which he tells her, after completing his first work for the stage, Simonís Night, that he "simply canít generate any enthusiasm for writing another play." He states further, "When my head is full of a new novel, as it is now, I resist using my allotted daily portion of creative energy for other things." Then he says, "Being a world-class introvert, Iím daunted by the whole process of play production--the readings, the critiques, opening night, etc."
Since then, four other plays have gone into production, and nobody enjoys opening nights as much as he does. Isnít it a wonder how he can write about other people when he doesnít even know his own mind? And isnít this ironic?--he is now working on a novelization of his play The Staggerford Murders.
And speaking of novels, he has just finished a draft of something called The Staggerford Flood. It has to do with the year I turned eighty and the Badbattle River overflowed its banks and flooded every house in the neighborhood except mine. A number of people sought refuge at my house and I had seven guests for four nights and four days--a kind of old folksí pajama party.
Well, thatís enough about him. The purpose of this letter is to solicit funds to ensure the ongoing success of the Jon Hassler Theater. As successful as itís been, it takes a great deal of money to maintain a professional Theater, and in addition to grants and ticket receipts, the staff depends on the kind contributions of people like you. Then too, there is the Jon Hassler Writerís Center in Plainview. Its exterior is nicely finished and landscaped but the interior will require more work before it is usable. Thank you very kindly.
PS. I am continually asked about the playwrightís health. His companion, Dr. Parkinson, has all but immobilized him, but hasnít yet figured out how to keep him from his daily stint at the word processor.
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