Welcome to our Featured Play Spotlight. Epic Adventures in a Rinky-Dink Art Museum by Ken Preuss is a wonderful character-driven comedy that’s full of mystery, romance and other assorted adventures.
Who says art is boring, especially when there’s romance and mystery in the air? A group of high school students reluctantly visit a small town art museum to complete a creative writing project.
But there’s more to the eye than a couple of paintings. There’s the legend of Vanishing Valerie, the obsession of love-struck Kaitlin, the mystery of why Duncan would try to eat a clay apple, and who is that woman wearing the not-so-great disguise? “Though the art saw it all, it remains on the wall, silently hiding the truth…”
Why did we publish this play?
The title really gives a window into the world of the play. The large and the small. The Epic and the Rinky-Dink. How could anything interesting possibly happen in a small town art museum? That’s the thesis of the play – there are epic adventures all around us, we just have to know where to look. It’s a lovely notion to share with students and this is a lovely play. And it makes perfect sense that a play about art has wonderfully well-drawn characters!
1. Why did you write this play?
The play started off as a comical collection of conversations teens might have in an art museum. The sarcastic comments, unrequited crushes, silly distractions, and artistic analysis began connecting in unexpected ways. Suddenly, there was the mystery of “Vanishing Valerie” and several romantic pursuits that were demanding to be resolved.
2. Describe the theme in one or two sentences.
Mr. Briggs, the owner of the museum, tosses out a comment in passing that states. “Art is the result of passion pursued.” Pursuing passion is a major theme in this comedy. Whether it’s solving a mystery, finding true love, seeing the beauty in world, or just having a good time, find what drives you, and go after it with all you have. That is what makes life worth living!
3. What’s the most important visual for you in this play?
The most important visual would be final minutes of the play. Although it is a mostly silent moment, the body language, facial expressions, and emotions bring an end to the central mystery and love story. If done correctly, it can be a perfectly poignant and surprising revelation.
4. If you could give one piece of advice for those producing the play, what would it be?
Have fun with the characterizations. The script suggests several ways to create the set, but whether you choose the simple or fancy style, the play thrives with the pacing and performances. Characters wander in and out of rooms as they explore the museum: seek ways to make your character unique and memorable, so the audience is excited every time you enter a scene and wonder about your while you are away.
5. Why is this play great for student performers?
This is among the funniest plays I have ever written. The teen characters are students we all know, but they are more than stereotypes. Each has multiple personality traits that allow students to create a real person and a separate story line to provide each role with its own arc. There are also a few adult characters that allow actors to stretch a little and gain experience playing someone from a different age group. Each role offers a student performer a chance to earn laughs and contribute to an ensemble piece.