The Frisco Enterprise

Renowned playwright reviews own show

(Created: Friday, February 02, 2007)
Internationally known playwright Steven Dietz, center in black jacket, is surrounded by the cast and director of Rover Dramawerks' production of Dietz's play 'Private Eyes.' The Dallas Theatre League sponsored the seminar he gave after a performance of 'Private Eyes' at the Cox Theatre Building in Plano last Saturday afternoon. Dietz, cast and director discussed the play and took questions from the audience. To the left of the playwright is the director Lisa Devine. In front of the director are Frank Shirar, arms folded and Rick Dalton. In front is Mike Sturlin. Behind Sturlin from left are Joslyn Justus and Julie Reinagel. Performances of 'Private Eyes' continue through Feb. 10./Penny Rathbun

For a celebrity, Steven Dietz is not very obvious, but get him in front of an audience for a seminar and his answers to questions are unexpected and as interesting as his plays.

The Dallas Theatre League sponsored a Steven Dietz seminar given at the Cox Theatre Building in Plano just after last Saturday's matinee performance of his play, "Private Eyes." The Rover Dramawerks cast and director joined him on stage after the performance.

Someone asked him how he handled it if he attended a bad performance of one of his works.

"You lie a lot," he said. He went on to explain that his opinion of something as bad may or may not be accurate.

"You know two or three lines in whether the show is good or not," he said. "Like your teen-ager's friends, you know the first sentence or two out of their mouths whether or not they're someone you want your kid to hang out with." He told about a production of one of his plays he saw in Detroit. He didn't think the production was very good, but later he got communications from people in the audience saying the show had changed their lives.

He assured everyone he was sincere when he said he liked the performance he and the audience had just watched at the Cox Building in Plano.

That was definitely a sincere remark because the performance he had just seen of "Private Eyes" was an excellent show.

Rover Dramawerks did themselves proud with this production, capturing every nuance, and in this play there are hundreds of nuances. The plot involves an actor or director who may or may not be having an affair. He tells his problems to a psychiatrist who may or may not be part of the play.

Dietz said it had been awhile since he'd seen the play and he had totally forgotten some major scenes in the play.

He said he was privileged that anyone wanted to perform any of his works. His more than 21 plays and adaptations of other works have been performed all over the United States and the world.

His recent plays include "Last of the Boys," a Pulitzer-prize nominee, "Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure" adapted from William Gillette and Arthur Conan Doyle, and his version of Bram Stoker's "Dracula."

He was born in Denver, and began his career as a director of new plays in Minneapolis before moving to Seattle in 1991. He is now a professor at the University of Texas in Austin.

Rover Dramawerks performances of "Private Eyes" continues through Feb. 10. Call 972-849-0358 for reservations.