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Chuck Stead Tue 12/08/2009 7:30

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Chuck Stead Tue 12/08/2009 7:30

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Showtime is 7:30 doors open at 6:30 Chuck Stead has been telling stories since he can remember, despite the fact that as a child he wasn’t much of a talker. He recalls that he grew up amid a great many storytellers, family elders who perpetuate the business of ‘living the metaphor’. His own voice emerged gradually, the earliest manifestation being the film and television dialogues he would imitate to entertain his mother on their long rides down along the back roads of northern Jersey. His first efforts at writing were narratives about trapping and hunting exploits with his father. After a short stint of student journalism at Rockland Community College (RCC), Chuck pursued poetry through the early 1970s. His only published collection of poems being Ramapo Mountain Poet (Library Research Assoc., 1979). By the mid-1970s Chuck took an interest in playwriting. Some of his earliest work was produced at College A, an alternative education program under the auspices of RCC. By 1977 his one act play Nightline, subsequently produced in workshop throughout the greater New York area was his first breakthrough in style. Meanwhile the poetry had evolved into narrative storytelling. He recalls the Irish Poet Dan Wallach (with whom he worked in 1973) telling him that his poems were like ‘morality plays’. Less the poet and more the playwright his next significant work was the one act play entitled Hunner. This was written and produced for a summer theater program Chuck directed under the auspices of Garrison Productions at the old Pigknoll School in Pomona, New York. This was his first attempt at drawing a story directly from his own village life. Hunner follows the events on the day of the passing of a beloved village elder. Chuck wrote about an experience that was only months old, and he engaged his actors in life studies from the people he wrote about. ‘It was both an exciting and scary thing to do, and I’m still learning from that experience’ he says. ‘When you write about an episode in your life you must step outside the experience and look back at it objectively, in so doing you tend to detach yourself from your own experience.’
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