A former Mansfield resident is jumping into the world of playwriting, with his first script being performed at this year’s Scranton Fringe Festival.
Rick Staron, a 1985 Mansfield High School graduate, the son of Ed and Dorie Staron and now a Kingston resident, has his one-act play, “Ye Merry Gentlemen,” being performed at this year’s 10-day festival.
The curtain will rise on the 50-minute, one-act play Saturday, Sept. 28 at 3 and 8:30 p.m. and Sunday, Sept. 29, at 3 p.m. in the Artists for Art Gallery at 514 Lackawanna Ave., Scranton.
“I’ve kind of had the story in my head for a while,” said Staron. “I’ve been a fan of ‘A Christmas Carol’ for a long, long time. I always kind of wondered what happened to Scrooge after. What if he went crazy and gave all his money away and died in a gutter a year later?”
That’s not what happens in the play, he said, but that question and others like it prompted the writing. A few years earlier, he got involved in community theatre — several characters in the Wilkes-Barre Little Theatre’s production of “A Christmas Carol” and a minor role in “Death of a Salesman” combined with his background in journalism and marketing writing, and his pump was primed to write his first play.
“I’m never going to be a lead actor,” said Staron. “I got involved because I like ‘A Christmas Carol,’ I like the experience and I liked the people. It seems like a fun thing to do on the side.”
Through his association with the group, he learned about the playwriting contest for the Fringe Festival. After several false starts and about a year of writing, he submitted the play to the Fringe Festival jury for review.
“I thought I could write stage play so I did and, to my surprise, they accepted it,” said Staron.
Once accepted, Staron also became the producer, director and took on a minor role.
“Ye Merry Gentlemen” takes place seven years after Ebenezer Scrooge had a change of heart after he was visited by four ghosts on Christmas eve. There are no ghosts in this play, said Staron.
“He’s still running his business — in a more upright manner — and he’s very conscientious about making charitable contributions. Then, he has something from his past come up and it shakes him a little bit,” said Staron. “He has struggle to decide whether he is the good person he turned into or whether the old Scrooge is in the wings waiting to be reborn.”
Tiny Tim is also going through an existential crisis of his own, and together the two must work through their issues, said Staron.
Rehearsals have been underway for about a month, and the cast is preparing for its performances. As for whether he’ll write another play, Staron’s answer is “probably.”
“I really have no idea,” he said. “I didn’t go into this with any expectation of this being accepted and being produced. I wanted to be able to write something, finish it and submit it somewhere sort of as a personal challenge. And I did that; I finished the process.”
Admission to the play is $10, along with a $5 Fringe Festival button. For more information, visit http://scrantonfringe.org.