The theme came from an abundance of Asian props.
By TRACEY D'ASTOLFO
LISBON -- Jared Mason of Salem, a frequent actor with Stage Left Players, will see his first play-writing effort staged.
The 21-year-old senior at Mount Union College has written "Ninja Nightmare," a murder-mystery farce. Stage Left Players will perform the play, which Mason is directing, starting this weekend.
Mason, who is majoring in writing, said the play is one of the more difficult, but rewarding, writing experiences he has undertaken.
"It was a bit difficult handling the intricacies of writing a story that will be acted out. Aside from a 15-page rhetorical analysis of authors that died decades ago, this has been one of the more difficult things I have done, but at the same time, worthwhile," he said.
Mason said he decided on the ninja theme after being told the theater company had a lot of Asian decorations and props.
"I worked with what we had and came up with "Ninja Nightmare," a fun experience for me overall, since I love Asian culture... and it was great to satirize the serious assassin that is a ninja," explained Mason.
The play, which takes place at Ziggy's Tea House during the "Celebration of the Goose," encourages audience participation.
Although this is the first play he has written, Mason said it isn't predictable.
"I didn't want to make it too complicated but didn't want to just slap the audience with obvious answers and insult their intelligence," he said. "I'm a big fan of twists and surprises around every turn, and I managed to pull one or two out in this play."
Mason said he fell in love with creating stories while trying his hand at journalism and wanting to make up more interesting stories for the people he was interviewing.
"[I started] thinking of how much more epic their thoughts could be if only they added a little spice," he said. "I find more than anything else I enjoy writing fiction. Compelling storylines with plots that weave in and out of time and space. Character development that can touch a reader and really make them relate. Settings and worlds that are so fantastic that you feel displaced from reality and are whisked away to someplace else."
Mason, a Salem High School graduate, has performed in several area productions, including "Spitfire Grill" at Salem Community Theatre and "Jesus Christ Superstar," "Damn Yankees" and "Shakespeare in the Park" with Stage Left Players.
He is writing a 30-page graphic novel for his senior portfolio and hopes to do an internship writing scenarios for video games.
"Ninja Nightmare" plays Friday, Saturday, Oct. 27 and Oct. 28 at 8 p.m. at the Outreach Center in Lisbon, 234 E. Lincoln Way. Tickets for adults are 10 (students and seniors, 8). Admission includes appetizers and tea. Call (330) 424-5093 for more information.