Milford Playwright showcases 'Catfish Goes the Distance'

A story about family, love and loss

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  • Photo provided Rebecca Robbins and Will Loeb appear at the Tusten Theatre in John Klemeyer's one-act play "Catfish Goes the Distance," May 16 and 17.



If you go...

WHO: “Catfish Goes the Distance.”
WHAT: First staged production.
WHEN: 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday, May 16 and 17.
WHERE: Tusten Theatre, 210 Bridge St, Narrowsburg, N.Y.
HOW MUCH: $15.
FOR MORE INFORMATION: 845-252-7576 or www.ArtsAllianceSite.org.

Throughout history creative people have struggled with the desire to be creative and the need for a practical career. Milford playwright John Klemeyer manages to do both very well.

Klemeyer, who is the playwright and director for "Catfish Goes the Distance" being performed at the Tusten Theatre this weekend is also an attorney who has lived in Milford for 41 years and whose kids were born and raised here.

“I have always had an interest in theater, and what started as a hobby is now more than that.”
— Milford playwright John Klemeyer.

Putting pen to paper
“I have always had an interest in theater, and what started as a hobby is now more than that,” said Klemeyer, who goes to the city at least twice a month to see and be inspired by new Broadway and off Broadway productions.

Some of his favorite playwrights include Theresa Rebeck for comedy and whose shows include “The Scene”, “The Understudy” and “The Seminar.” He also finds David Abarie who wrote “Rabbit Hole,” which became a movie with Nicole Kidman.

“She's well known, gets the greatest actors because her work deserves it,” said Klemeyer of Rebeck.

Klemeyer started writing while in college, but says he only began writing seriously about 10 or 11 years ago. He will be inspired by a story he reads in the news or about something in somebody's life.

“I think about it and then start to write after determining if there is something worthy of being retold,” said Klemeyer.

"Catfish Goes the Distance"
He will have a number of projects going at any given time. For example, he began writing, “What I Didn't Know Then,” six years ago and is just now getting back to it. He has gotten together a group of really good cast members that he feels comfortable working with on a regular basis. He likes to start with a great story, loves humor, but also loves the dramatic turn.

The upcoming show at the Tusten was inspired by a real life story that he read about in the news. When a lake is drained for repairs, a car is found. In it are the remains of two people, a man and a woman missing for more than 40 years. They were married, but not to each other. No one ever connected their disappearances — until now. At a coffee shop in Manhattan, the two children of the missing pair meet for the first time.

Thus begins “Catfish goes the Distance,” a story of family, love and loss.

He describes it as a drama that is set in upstate New York, but in the first scene, the two adult kids of these two deceased people meet in a coffee shop in New York City.

In the second scene, he shows their parents in a flashback meeting in that same coffee shop. In the play he shows the guilt of the couple who had the affair and then 30 years later the guilt reflected in their children as they try to make sense of it and their own loss.

Kleymeyer's other works include “Twice Removed” (2003) produced by the Butchers Guild Players in Middletown, N.Y. He is also the author of “Island Girl,” “Just Result,” “Profit for Prophets” and “Height of Ignorance.” His work, “Negatives” was first produced by Sullivan County Dramatic Workshop, and then was chosen for the TANYS Theater Festival in 2007 where it won seven awards. In 2009 it was presented in a showcase run at Theatre Row on 42nd Street in NYC.

Klemeyer's latest work, “Catfish” was seen in a workshop-staged reading in Milford in 2012.

The performance takes place Friday and Saturday, May 16 and 17 at 8 p.m. at the Tusten Theatre which is located at 210 Bridge St. Narrowsburg, N.Y. Admission is $15.

For tickets and information, call 845-252-7576.

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