Saturday, March 23, 2013

It All Began With a Marijuana Lollipop

The lollipop in my fridge
On April 12, my play Lollipops, which has a bit of fun with medical marijuana, debuts as part of an evening of short comedic plays, I'm Not OK, Cupid. The production, by Left Coast Theatre Company in San Francisco, showcases plays that depict the hilarious travails of modern romance and online hookups. Left Coast is posting interviews with the production's featured playwrights on its Facebook page. Here are the questions they asked me, followed by my answers.

LCTC: The story of Lollipops centers around a middle-aged-recent-divorcee-neo-lesbian who is trying to get back into show business. What and/or who inspired such a dynamic and conflicted character? Did the character appear out of thin air or build upon itself as you were writing?

Martin: I've known more than one middle-aged woman who, after years of what seemed like a happy marriage, suddenly found herself alone, wondering what the hell happened, why did my long-time spouse or partner leave, and where did the time go? This often creates a sense of urgency, a need to make up for lost time--now. When you have a character in this situation who also had deferred her big dream--as so many people do--the stakes are suddenly very high. Sandy, the main character in Lollipops, hears the clock ticking loudly. She wants to leave something of meaning behind, she wants a legacy. Faced with this situation, a character like Sandy makes uncharacteristic choices, which is what I find so compelling.

LCTC: Where did the idea of ‘magical lollipops’ come from? Have you ever eaten ‘magical lollipops’? How does one make ‘magical lollipops’? Do you know if Paula Dean has a ‘sugar free’ magical lollipop recipe?

Martin: I have had one magical lollipop in my life. A friend gave it to me. He has a prescription for medical marijuana, and he prefers to take in lollipop form. I'm totally in support of medical marijuana, but I just find the concept of prescription lollipops hilarious. But the idea for Lollipops came to me in Dolores Park on a sunny afternoon. I was enjoying the weather with my partner, Nick, and this young woman walked by selling "ganja lollies." I was intrigued enough to beckon her over and ask her a bunch of questions about them. Since I'd cross-examined her, I felt obliged to buy one of her lollipops. It is still in my refrigerator. For whatever reason, I don't trust it, and yet I don't want to throw it out, either. How ridiculous is that?

BTW, Paula Deen doesn't eat anything without sugar, with the possible exception of steak.

LCTC: Your last play, The Buck Naked Church of Truth, really played into the world of San Francisco politics. Do you want Lollipops to have a similar message or voice? What was your motivation and drive behind this piece?

Martin: Whenever I write a play, I want to leave the audience with something more than just a pleasant experience. I want them to discuss their reactions to the play with whomever they see it. With The Buck Naked Church of Truth, I wanted the audience to figure out where they stood on the issue of public nudity in SF. Were they for or against it, and why? Lollipops is less political and timely and much more personal, for me. Yes, it touches on medical marijuana, but in a farcical way. What I would like the audience to think about after this play is: What dreams have they deferred? Have they given up too much for their long-term spouse or partner? And what would they do if they were suddenly free to start all over again in mid life?


I'm Not OK, Cupid runs April 12 through May 4 at the Shelton Theater, 533 Sutter Street, San Francisco. Tickets are $20 online at Brown Paper Tickets. Nick and I will be there opening night, April 12.

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  1. If I lived in san francisco I would certainly go to your play. Good luck!! :)

    1. Thanks Julian. I wish you could be there! Jim

  2. Can I sell the Lollipops? Can you just see Ms. Maddox running the halls of High School after a treat? I am sure the play will be outstanding like the author. Please let me know if there is a film of it. I really wish I could see your work.

    1. Oh Lord, Tim, how you connected Ms. Maddox to marijuana lollipops is a hilarious mystery to me. I can still smell, I mean, see her now!
      One of these days I'm going to put together a DVD of my short plays and I'll send you one. I have clips from all three that have been produced so far. Thanks for being such a good friend all these many years! I still laugh about our high-school antics in the Camaro. Jim

  3. Oh, I WAS Sandy in a previous life, or rather, previous time of my life. I sure wish I could see how you wrote her and what happens to her. The fact that magic lollipops are involved is that much more intriguing!

    I wish you the absolute best of luck (break a leg) on opening night. I think that might be the night to sample your little treat in the 'fridge.

    1. Great idea about the fridge, Judi. I just might do that! Jim

  4. One of these days Jim, I will be in San Francisco when your play is playing!