On Opening

Posted on: November 7th, 2011 by Stephen Karam

We opened!

The final week of previews reminds me of that Paul Valéry quote (that is also attributed to about 100 other people):

A poem is never finished, only abandoned in despair.

I don’t abandon my plays in despair during the final week of previews. But I do find myself still refining the play and making discoveries and then suddenly…there are critics in the house. And so you just have to stop. You stop re-writing so that the cast can have some stability (and remember their lines).

So I suppose my less poetic truth is:

My plays are never finished, they just open.

I said a prayer to St. Rafka and hoped I’d done enough work. If I have the opportunity to mount the show somewhere else,  I’ll likely make a few additional revisions, but I’m so proud of the work everyone has done on and off stage to get us this far.

I mentioned St. Rafka—and am surprised at the number of people who think I made her up. She is a real Lebanese Maronite Saint, canonized in 2001 by John Paul II. She’s a big deal. She has two web domains.

I received an amazing opening night gift from Roundabout Artistic Consultant/Producer Robyn Goodman: Season 9 DVD set of Little House in the Prairie. If you’ll permit me, I’d like to share with you the actual DVD back-cover copy (I once wrote back-cover copy for Simon & Schuster, so I notice these things). It chronicles the season highlights.  This is the actual text:

- Royal is terminally ill and Jenny tries to drown herself after his death

- A man facing financial ruin loses his mind and shoots his wife and daughter

- The Wilders befriend a wild boy who escaped from a traveling sideshow.

- Jenny must learn to walk and talk again after nearly drowning.

- Mr. Edwards is held for ransom.

- Albert returns from the city and goes through morphine withdrawal.

- Laura blames Doc for the loss of her newborn baby.

-  Mr. Edwards makes friends with an orangutan.

Seriously. My Little House references in the bus scene now focus solely on the tragic events in Mary Ingalls’ life, though at one point I cited the appearance of the mime-rapist who wreaked havoc on Walnut Grove (during sweeps week). But because truth is stranger than fiction, everyone thought I was making it up—people were like, a girl was raped by a mime?! On a primetime family show? And so I had to cut it. But it happened. Here’s a photo-still from said episode:

I had nightmares for weeks.

My friends are asking about how to get affordable tickets to Sons of the Prophet. Theater is so expensive. Here’s the good news. Every show has a block of tickets that people under 35 can buy in advance for $22.50 as a HIPTIX member. Join for free at or by calling 212.719.1300. No waiting in line. Or you can just show up at the theater the day of a show (as soon as the box office opens right up until curtain) to purchase a rush ticket, which is also in the $20 range. I’m under 35 myself, and a playwright, so I’m anxious for people to know there is an affordable way to see the show.

See you at the theater.

Sons of the Prophet is playing at the Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre/Laura Pels Theatre through January 1, 2012. For more information about the show or how to purchase tickets, click here.

Related Categories:
2011-2012 Season, Sons of the Prophet, Stephen Karam's Blog

  1. carli

    November 7, 2011

    Sylvia, right? That episode freaked me out for years. Also, since I didn’t understand that she was being raped, I thought a woman could become pregnant just by being scared really badly.

  2. Mike T-F

    November 24, 2011

    Congrats, all. Beautiful stuff, all hands. Only thing this play is missing, Mr. K, is kibbee. Seriously. A death in the the family and no relative shows up with a big platter of kibbee?! The only things certain in life are death and platters of food.

  3. SKaram

    November 27, 2011

    Carli – I, too, was confused about the details of that episode, not understanding why getting scared by a clown resulted in pregnancy. It was still easier for me to handle than the episode where Mary got 2nd place in the spelling bee and suffered a minor breakdown, believing she brought shame to all of Walnut Grove.

    Mike – you are so right. If the ON HOME scene were truer to real life, the kitchen table would be overflowing with platters of kibbee from everyone in the family’s Maronite parish! I am planning on cooking some (my aunts’ recipe) for the cast very soon.



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