The Play Was a Thing by
(97 Stories)

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(Please note: I am actually reading, and wish to comment upon, other Retrospect writer’s stories. But for some reason, since early August I am unable to reply to anyone’s stories but my own, no matter where I log in from. All I get is a 503 server error. Until and unless this changes, I will include all my comments in one document and publish that as a story near the end of the week. A slow, awkward kludge, but it’s the only idea I have)

I’ve written enough stories here on Retrospect, and have a poor enough memory, that I often need to go back and check that I am not repeating myself.

I’ve covered the most life-changing performance I’ve attended (Pizza and a Bad Movie).  I’ve written about an epically bad concert that also altered my life’s course (My Brown-Eyed Girl). I’ve shared the concert where I fell in love with the performer (Birthday Girl).

I need something not involving lust or Maria. Oooo… I have one!

Back in the early Uh Ohs I flirted with The Theater. Chicago has a LOT of small theaters and small theater troupes. I took some classes, wrote and workshopped some short plays, and submitted a few. I even took a couple of performance workshops. Nothing came of it and like most of my enthusiasms, it proved less than durable. But I learned a lot, met a few nice people and a few extremely flawed ones, and was exposed to some profoundly brilliant storytelling.

I think perhaps the most memorable (it must be; I remembered it first) was a play called “The Life and Times of Tulsa Lovechild: A Road Trip” by Greg Owens. This was the play that ignited my short ambition to get involved with the theater.

I have always greatly admired writers who weave multiple plot threads and characters into a fabric that at the end is revealed to be a brilliant and complex tapestry. The Simpsons episode “22 Short Films About Springfield” is a nice example. This play is another.

I won’t write a synopsis from 21 years on. The Amazon listing for the script has a nice summary of the plot: A couple of reviews are at and You can also order a copy of the play online, preferably from a small bookstore or the like.

Until now I’d quite forgotten about Tulsa. I need to dig up my copy of the script and re-read it!



Profile photo of Dave Ventre Dave Ventre
A hyper-annuated wannabee scientist with a lovely wife and a mountain biking problem.

Characterizations: well written


  1. Marian says:

    It’s interesting that we can remember the feelings generated from art and performances, Dave, even if the content is fuzzy. My experience exactly.

  2. Betsy Pfau says:

    As Marian points out, art conjures feelings. That’s what good art does for us. Good for you for writing and trying to work in theater; not an easy profession. Thanks for bringing back this memory.

  3. Khati Hendry says:

    I read the synopsis on Amazon as recommended, and Tulsa must be a real tour de force to successfully carry off the synopsis. Sounds offbeat but smart and touching. Also impressed that you took a turn at theatre–wasn’t expecting that–but “Tulsa” sounds like it would fit well.

  4. Suzy says:

    Interesting story, Dave. I haven’t read the synopsis of Tulsa, but it sounds like I need to. I can show you how to make hyperlinks for those three sites you list in your penultimate paragraph, so that people could just click on them to read the articles.

  5. Thanx Dave for sharing your youthful foray into the theatre and storytelling. . I was a wannabe actress, now an avid theatre-goer, but never tried my hand at playwriting, it’s hard to write a well-made play.

    I see how The Life and Times of Tulsa Lovechild was memorable for you – the plot summary and reviews are intriguing!

    • Dave Ventre says:

      Our dear Stacy was very much a part of our theater period; she was a performer in music and improv. She knew people in the local scene, which got us good seats, backstage passes and once, a cast party invite. Whenever I think of the shows we saw, she lives again in my memory, healthy, funny and beautiful.

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