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Sparks in the Park

Sparks in the Park
Your Price: $17.95 CDN
Author: Noble Mason Smith
Publisher: Samuel French
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 76
Pub. Date: 1988
ISBN-10: 0573625190
ISBN-13: 9780573625190
Cast Size: 3 female, 5 male

About the Play:

Sparks in the Park has long been a favourite of acting teachers for female/male scenes.

Sparks in the Park is a meaty one-act comedy by Noble Mason Smith. The play details a neurotic teenager who struggles to write a play while also dealing with divorcing parents, typical teen romances, failing friendships and a nagging fear of what happens after graduation. Sparks in the Park was, in fact, written by a neurotic 18-year-old and entered in the New York Young Playwrights Festival (which it won).

Sparks in the Park is about 17-year-old Barry Daniels, who is struggling to write a play over summer break. He pounds away on his laptop trying to write a play to enter in The New York Young Playwrights Festival, ignoring friends Ben and Stephanie who urge him to write about what he knows or at least stick to poetry. Moving back and forth between Barry's oblivious relationship with Stephanie, who anyone can see loves him, and the world of his imagination, Barry becomes the central figure of both his life situations and the melodramatic scenes from his plays. The young writer can't see that his own relationships are far more interesting than his lame efforts at stagecraft: ridiculous attempts to emulate talented writers like Sam Shepherd and, alas!, Shakespeare. Somehow, all of Barry's stresses end up written into various "drafts" of his summer homework, evolving into a James Bondesque spy play, a horrific melodrama and a Shakespearean tragedy, including a dashing sword fight, which eventually help Barry figure out his place in this big and confusing world. 

Sparks in the Park premiered in 1987 at Playwrights Horizons Theatre and ran for 30 performances as part of the New York Young Playwrights Festival.

Cast: 3 female, 5 male

What people say:

"Outlandishly funny."New York Magazine

"A delight from beginning."The New Yorker

"An imaginative picaresque adventure... Sparks in the Park represents an admirable debut for Noble Mason Smith." — The New York Times

"Sparks in the Park by Noble Mason Smith ... is the longest and meatiest of the one-acts, also the one most attuned to the teen consciousness. It would not be fair to give away the surprises, except to say that ... the finale is true to theater of the absurd." — The Daily News

About the Playwright:

Noble Mason Smith is an award-winning playwright, documentary film executive producer and narrative designer. His play Sparks in the Park was written when he was eighteen years old.