Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Update: Mermaids, Making Movies, Boys Like Me, Dirty Dancing, Kat Cunning

A week ago, my new young adult novel The Marijuana Mermaids was released into the wild world - and what an exciting week it's been. Already, the response to the book has been encouraging and awesome, and it continues to grow every day. The road to publishing this novel will continue to be an interesting one. The book is available via Swoon Reads. There, readers determine the fate of the novel by their comments and ratings - their response to my work. If the response is great enough, the book will receive worldwide distribution. It's exciting. It's exhilarating. It's risky. I believe in the book (it's truly the best thing I've ever written and will most likely become the best thing I ever wrote). I can't wait to see where these mermaids go next.

Tomorrow morning, production begins on the film adaptation of my one-act play/short film screenplay Baby in the Basement. The film is being directed by the very talented Dina Faye Gilmore. The cast is incredible and are all so very talented. I'm impressed by how Dina has brought together such a great group of creative people. I'm planning to be on the set for a few scenes, which I'm sure will be a surreal experience. Plans are already in the works for the finished film to be submitted to several film festivals. Super exciting!

I had a very productive 17-day break from work (one of the many benefits of working in higher education). I enjoyed every second of it. Cleaned the garage. Wrote thousands of words. Watched a lot of great films. Read The Watcher in the Woods by Florence Engel Randall (I love the Disney film version of this story). Slept in. Stayed up late. Had beautiful, relaxing holidays. The only downside was a few days of a bad cold/sore throat.

I'm working on a lot of new and old projects. Expanding my one-act play False Hopes into a full length stage play (almost done). Working on a short story called Delinquent. Finishing the final draft of my new stage play Bitter and Sweet (by far the funniest thing I've written to date). And putting together my first and soon-to-be-published collection of short stories, Boys Like Me.  I also wrote a new essay titled Hanging Out with Bette Davis, which I recently submitted to the kind folks at Chicken Soup for the Soul.

I watched Dirty Dancing the other day for the first time in years. Remind me to tell you about the time I watched that film on a ship headed to Belgium just minutes after being kicked out of England. It holds a special place in my heart (and I've since forgiven the UK).

Until next time...

xoxo DMB

P.S. Even though the song came out last year, this is my first favorite song of 2020, King of Shadow by Kat Cunning. Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

The Marijuana Mermaids by David-Matthew Barnes - Free Read!

The moment has finally arrived. My young adult novel The Marijuana Mermaids is now available. This book was 20 years (yes, twenty years) in the making. In the fall of 2000, the journey of this novel began in a writing class I took at Columbia College in Chicago. What started as a short story would take two decades to become a novel. The end result has just been released and I need your help to move this project forward.

You can read a copy of The Marijuana Mermaids for free here (signing up for Swoon Reads is also free). Please rate the book and leave a comment, if you can. Every response helps my book reach more readers. One of the many wonderful cool things about Swoon Reads: the response from readers determines what happens to the book next (i.e. worldwide distribution). I thank you for any support you can give my work.


Monday, December 16, 2019

2019 A Year in Review

The best word to describe this year is MAGICAL. Thank you for making 2019 one of the best years ever. Here's a look back at the highlights. Turn the volume UP and enjoy the sounds of The Dollyrots who continue to provide the soundtrack to my life.💙


Monday, December 9, 2019

Favorite Songs of 2019

While not all of these songs were released in 2019, these are the songs I listened to (and loved) the most this year.

On Writing A Rum Cake for Rita

One of the greatest rewards of being a playwright are the occasional surprises in form of an unexpected reaction to a script I've written. A Rum Cake for Rita continues to keep me on my toes, years after it was written. While the story itself appears simple in structure, the complex themes of the play and the audiences responses to them are really what writing is about (for me).

Each time A Rum Cake for Rita is brought to a stage, audience members will seek me out and share with me a story of their own similar to the one Marla and Rita experience in the play. There's something about the family dynamic that often strikes a familiar chord in someone who has seen the play. I'm not quite sure it's comfort the play is providing, but rather an unspoken permission to talk about our pasts and compare them to where we are now - especially within our families.

As you can imagine, each response I receive to this play inspires me to continue writing, with a hope that I can somehow provide connection between the characters and the audiences who embrace them.


A RUM CAKE FOR RITA - WHERE TO PURCHASE THIS SCRIPT
Production Rights (permission to produce/perform this play)
Featured in Limelight: A Collection of Short Plays

Monday, December 2, 2019

New Release! Pensacola by David-Matthew Barnes

It's hard to believe that I wrote Pensacola 23 years ago. Back then, I never could've imagined the incredible journey this script has had (and continues to have) since then. I am eternally grateful to the original cast and to the wonderful folks at The Thistle Dew Dessert Theatre in Sacramento, who helped me bring this story to the stage for the first time in 1996. Many, many thanks to the theaters around the world who continue to perform the play and to the many actresses who perform Marie's Miss Florida monologue at auditions, on stages, and on YouTube. Without a doubt, Pensacola has become my most successful stage play to date. Today, a new edition of the script has been released and is available from Blue Dasher Press. I couldn't be more excited to see where this story goes next..

PENSACOLA - WHERE TO PURCHASE THIS SCRIPT
Production Rights (permission to produce/perform this play)

Watch a monologue performance from the play.

"Pensacola depicts the lives of an eclectic collection of Southerners in the tradition of Tennessee Williams... humorous and witty dialogue...the authentic portrayal of human nature...the poignant depiction of people reacting to crushed dreams..."  
The California Aggie

"Pensacola, both touching and humorous, explores the lives of four eclectic Southern women as they discover their personal strengths and destinies...think Steel Magnolias by way of Tennessee Williams, with a detour through the mind of Elmore Leonard..."  
Charlotte Theatre Magazine

"Local yokels who haven't stepped foot out of P'cola may not have heard the buzz surrounding this eclectic collection of Southerners in the tradition of Tennessee Williams. Or, that the play, written by up-and-coming phenom David-Matthew Barnes, is set in our sleepy 'lil community. Performed in theatres across the country, Pensacola chronicles the lives of four Steel Magnolia-type women and has become one of the prolific writer's signature pieces."  
Sam Baltrusis, Independent News

"It is to the playwright's credit that Pensacola doesn't become melodramatic...recent events add poignancy to its message about the randomness of violence and the fragility of love..."  
The Sacramento Bee

"The reaction of some of the women to an immigrant as a love interest gives Pensacola a social slant that the all-white small-town characters of Steel Magnolias lacked...Barnes has engineered some amusing dialogue..." 
The Sacramento News & Review 

"At turns comedic and dramatic (but always impressive), the Southern-flavored dialogue of Pensacola brought readily to mind the works of Tennessee Williams...warm-hearted and heart-warming..."
The Night Cap

"Pensacola is the Steel Magnolias of the 21st Century. Robert Harling and David-Matthew Barnes have created idyllic lives for all classes of Southern women."  
Dianne Parker 

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Free Scenes for Actors

Please enjoy these complimentary scenes, all from plays I've written (courtesy of Blue Dasher Press). They add new scenes often, so please check back frequently. Each scene is available to download in a printable PDF.

Looking for a monologue?


Better Places to Go: Scene One
Cast: 1 woman, 1 man (both characters are in their 20's; the role of Ricardo is written for a Latin actor to perform.)
Scene Summary: Rosie, an embittered waitress, confronts her co-worker, a busboy named Ricardo. This scene contains adult language and subject matter.
Need to read the entire play?

Better Places to Go: Scene Two
Cast: 2 men (both characters are in their 20's; the role of Ricardo is written for a Latin actor to perform.)
Scene Summary: Tired of keeping their relationship a secret, manic Derek tries to convince Ricardo they should run away together. This scene contains adult language and subject matter.
Need to read the entire play?


Frozen Stars: Scene One
Cast: 1 woman, 1 man (both characters are in high school)
Scene Summary: Moments before she leaves to embark on a new life, high school student Patti is shocked when the guy she's had a crush on announces he wants to go with her.
Need to read the entire play?

Frozen Stars: Scene Two
Cast: 2 men (both characters are in high school; the role of Javier is written for a Latin actor to perform.)
Scene Summary: High school student Manny admits his feelings for Javier, a young aspiring artist.
Need to read the entire play?


Sky Lines: Scene One
Cast: 2 women (both characters are in their late 20's/early 30's; the role of Venita is written for a black actress to perform)
Scene Summary: In the year 1972, neighbors Venita and Maggie compare notes on their marriages.
Need to read the entire play?

Sky Lines: Scene Two
Cast: 2 women (both characters are in their 50's; the role of Venita is written for a black actress to perform).
Scene Summary: In this scene set in 1999, Maggie reveals to her best friend that she's been diagnosed with breast cancer.
Need to read the entire play?


Somebody's Baby: Scene One
Cast: 1 woman, 1 man (both characters are in their late teens)
Scene Summary: After escaping a near date-rape situation, Tabitha stumbled into a coffee shop in Chicago where she meets William, a young man who is dying of AIDS. This award-winning play for young people is set in the year 1997.
Need to read the entire play?


Stay: Scene One
Cast: 1 woman, 1 man (both characters are in their late teens)
Scene Summary: Moments after he arrives home from serving a sentence at a work camp, Jessie realizes the girlfriend he left behind has changed.
Need to read the entire play?


Threnody: Scene One 
Cast: 1 woman, 1 man (both characters are in their 20's)
Scene Summary: Dana and Jake are a young couple who suffer from a horrible drug addiction and a volatile love affair. Threnody is an in-depth and frightening exploration of the disintegration of two people, grasping for any signs of hope or human compassion in a world where none exists. This scene contains adult language and subject matter.
Need to read the entire play?


The Truants: Scene One
Cast: 2 women (both characters are in high school)
Scene Summary: Best friends Sandi and Jana talk about what it's like to be a teenage girl. The year is 1989.
Need to read the entire play?

The Truants: Scene Two
Cast: 1 woman, 1 man (both characters are in high school)
Scene Summary: Chad's best friend Jana reveals to him that the boy he has a crush on has mutual feelings. The year is 1989.
Need to read the entire play?

The Truants: Scene Three
Cast: 2 men (both characters are in high school)
Scene Summary: Ethan's best friend Marc confronts him about his sexuality. The year is 1989.
Need to read the entire play?