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Spread the Love: A Box of Puppies by Billy Houck

This week we Spread the love for A Box of Puppies by Billy Houck.

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Transcript

Welcome to this week’s Spread the Love. We are still at the Educational Theatre Association’s Conference in Anaheim and this week we are talking about A Box of Puppies by Billy Houck. And A Box of Puppies is so great that we actually sold out of the copies that we brought to the conference. I have nothing to hold up to you. So you’ll have to imagine, here we go, A Box of Puppies. A Box of Puppies is a really great book. It’s got four plays in it. Two monologues and two short works. And they all take a great look the fragility and resilience of being a teenager. We love them because Billy knows, I think almost more than any other writer I’ve come across, how to write for the teen voice. He writes in the teen voice so so well. And when the first script came across our desk we were like – we need to publish this. And we are so happy that Billy lives in California. He’s right here. How you doing Billy?

Just great.

Here on Spread the Love we like to talk about why we love the plays in our catalogue. So what do you love about these great works. If you don’t mind me saying so.

I love that you’re publishing them. I’ve been writing plays –

You write plays for your students to perform.

I do. I do. It’s something that I just sort of do. When I find myself trying to write something else, it sometimes turns into a play on me. And these particular plays are special to me because in many cases I took something that a student said, or something that I overheard somewhere and made that into a play.

What’s really interesting, is that we had people, the reason that we sold out of the scripta, is they came up to us and said ‘I need something on bullying.’ I said, We’ve got this play called Huge Hands which is in this collection. It’s about this young scrawny boy and how he deals in his head with the bullies and how he deals in reality with them. And the people who picked it up they went, I love this, I’m taking it.

And there’s a monologue called One Beer Too Many.

Yes.

What was the inspiration for that?

Actually, I wrote that play many years ago at a California Thespian Festival. I had down time, I was sitting in a room for an hour and I just started writing. And, I don’t know where it came from. It came out of me, I guess.

Do you know what? Sometimes, that’s where the best plays come from. There is no starting point.

You just open up and there it comes.

It’s (the play) about a young man’s struggle with writing and what’s going on at home. And when he is honest, he is belittled for being honest. And I think that’s something that teenagers really, really face. I like that we can offer that out.

And then the memory card ran out!

A Box of Puppies. We love it.

About the author

Craig Mason