finishing Doubles, a series of
semi-related vignettes, I started wondering if I
could write a play which sustained the same
characters from start to finish. I had written
screenplays and teleplays, but they can rely on
many other factors to keep things
I also knew that in order to get the play
produced (theater money was real tight in the
1980's), I had to limit the cost of the
production by keeping the cast small and the
sets to a minimum.
I also knew that I wanted to write a comedy.
Let's see--a small cast, one set and a comedy.
There was only one playwright whose example I
could follow--Neil Simon. Coincidentally,
Simon's film version of You Oughta Be in
Pictures had just opened and I found myself
interested in what the film said about
Having grown up in the television generation, I
was bombarded with the "single father" shows
like My Three Sons, Bachelor
Father, Family Affair ad nauseum.
I wondered what would happen if a man
conceived a child the first time he had sex.
There had been many stories about young mothers,
but virtually none about young fathers. Of
course, I couldn't write a play about a
sixteen-year-old raising a baby. Babies are
notorious for not remembering their lines or
So I set the play some twenty-years later with
the father and son living together more as
brothers than parent and child. The father,
still single, was becoming a somewhat sad,
lonely character despite his sense of humor, so
I decided to introduce a love interest to mix up
the father/son relationship and show another
side of the father.
To further emulate the Simon style, I mixed in
the mother/grandmother and the son's strange
girlfriend for additional comic relief.
Golden Gates is admittedly formula, but I
laughed a lot while writing it and while working
it through with the cast.
The show also has another personal meaning for
me. My father passed away during its run. And
while he never got to see the show, he knew I
had finally gotten an original one produced at a
community theater level.