Written in 1980

Doubles came about as a result of three things:

• First, I wanted to write my first original play for the stage. I had adapted M*A*S*H, but wanted to create my own characters.

• Second, in the fall of 1980, I had just finished playing six roles in the San Jose premiere of Bullshot Crummond, and had a great time doing so. I wanted to write a play in which the entire cast could each play multiple roles.

• Third, I wanted to make a musical version of the comic strip B.C.

This unlikely combination of goals led me to my first dramatic anthology. I initially started playing around with the B.C. idea but found it would be difficult to sustain over a full-length musical. I liked the idea of cavemen, though. It's rarely been done in theater.

So I decided to make Doubles a sort of comic history of men and women with each scene in a different time and place. This would allow the multiple roles for each actor.

Then I decided the thrust of each scene would be a step in the male/female relationship: Discovery, Courtship, Marriage, Separation, Reconciliation, Death and Re-Discovery.

By the time I was finished, the running time worked out to be about two-and-a-half hours. I performed some radical surgery and cut the entire Reconciliation scene. I added Some Supreme Being and Lenny to act as commentators on the action and to allow a break between each scene.

It was first produced at my old high school (Leigh High in San Jose, CA) and later premiered in 1998 at the Santa Clara Players. The mayor of Santa Clara played Some Supreme Being (a pre-recorded role), and she was terrific.

Doubles was my first original stage effort. I learned a lot about playwriting in creating it: what works, what doesn't--and how humbling it can be reading your early works years later.