We had the wonderful opportunity to sit down with playwright David Marshall, the author of Kings Among Men, our newest staged reading, running February 26-28.
David Marshall is the Founder and Director of Marshall Arts, and is both a writer a performer in his own right. In addition to the five scripts that he has penned, Marshall also appeared onstage at Patio Playhouse as Benny in In the Heights and performed in I’ll Be Zoom for Christmas. Join us as we climb into his mind for a few moments and explore the inspiration behind Kings Among Men:
1. What inspired you to begin writing plays?
I started writing musicals back in 2016 due to my love for them and background in performance. I have 4 works completed besides Kings Among Men: Hadassah (2016), Nightingales (2017), Cafe Straits (2019), and Indigo (2020), but it was after working on Father Comes Home from the Wars with Intrepid Theatre back in 2017 when I came to have a true love for the depth one can go into within a play (compared to a musical, where deep thoughts are mostly left implied). After seeing a production of Antony and Cleopatra, I was inspired to write my first play, but needed material that fit to me. After a random search as to “WHY is Friday, October 13th a haunted day” I landed upon the day the Templar Order was dismantled and the soldiers brutally murdered. This intrigued me, I did six months of research and this script came to me.
2. What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned while writing?
I’ll never get over how often the every day plays into the work; how even in experiencing writer’s block, you can use it to unearth something natural; and how sometimes less is so much more. Another thing is the discovery: each of these scenes in Kings Among Men has a musical backdrop. Each line of dialogue, each beat, was determined through the music, and it’s imperative that the music is played throughout the show — without it, it’s a different show.
3. In what ways do you think your own personal influences experience the stories that you create for the stage?
I think that, at the end of the day, there is a piece of every character in me, at the end of the day, all I can do is utilize the experiences that I’ve been through or can somehow relate to. In this show, there’s the frustration of being young, the moments of you making a stand on your lonesome, or making little compromises because “deals make the world go round.” What I love about theatre is the intense study of what makes a person human and the decisions they make.
4. What is something you’d like people to know about you?
As a writer, there are often times we are called to look to our surroundings and environment to pull out our stories; however, in this show, I found myself drawing from myself as much as from a historical landscape and political landscape. I’m a writer who likes to use metaphors and allegories and this shows are full of them/ I see myself in most (if not all) of these characters. I find myself asking these questions, “Do you see yourself?“, “Do you like yourself?“, And “What are you gonna so about it?”
5. Why would you recommend that people come to see this show?
I hope that it is understood that these are not caricatures meant to be criticized from afar, but meant to drive the audiences’ minds inward. There are many demons and angels in this play and, as seen, not all demons have horns, a tail, and pitchfork. It’s a little more complicated than that. I recommend you look at this show introspectively and see it as more than for mere entertainment, but as a lesson humanity has been failing since the dawn of time. Question yourself: “How can we change this?”
Grab your tickets now to see Kings Among Men, playing one weekend only: http://patioplayhouse.com/kings-among-men-produced-zoom-reading/.
Learn more about David Marshall: http://hadassahmusical.wixsite.com/workshop or contact him via email: email@example.com.