Lawyer's ego, antics take center stage in new comedy
"The lead character is sort of egotistical, and there is a point in the play where his secretary (also his girlfiend) says to him, `Boy I wonder about you, you're really a boy wonder.'"
Giarniero says to expect similar jokes and antics surrounding O'Banion in "Boy Wonder?" which opens at Norwalk's Crystal Theatre Sept. 23.
"It's a play about a day in the life of an attorney who is juggling his clients, a wife and kids, a girlfriend and a new mistress," he said. "He is a lawyer that is somewhat full of himself, but usually does a half-hearted job for them. He's got some crazy and theatrical clients. Somewhat like my clients I suppose."
Giarniero, who has a degree from Penn State in dramatic writing and a degree from the University of Connecticut in dramatic arts, has been a lawyer since the mid '90s after he grew tired of writing for Hollywood and syndicated television.
"When you are working in television or films, more often than not, you end up writing for other people as opposed to yourself," he said. "So frankly, I got sick of it and I quit. Then I went to law school, a place I found really interesting."
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It was in his first years at law school that Giarniero found inspiration for "Boy Wonder?" But the lawyer connection was a random choice thanks to his association with the field.
"If you take out the whole lawyer character thing, it could probably work with the main character as almost any other profession," he said. "For instance, he could be a plumber and the story would still hold water. It was kind of one of those things where you get a goofy idea and it just rolls around in your head until it gets crazier and crazier."
So the idea had been in Giarniero's head for nearly 15 years, but it was not put on paper until recently. Having written a few comedies before, he said the actual act of sitting down and writing the play is generally the easiest part of the process, and also alludes to the quality of the work. Giarniero says the easier and faster it is to actually write it up generally means you have something special on paper.
"It went very fast," he said. "It was knocking around in my head for 14 years, but once I sat down to write, it only took three weeks."
As far as the cast and crew, Al Kulcsar of Fairfield is directing the play and starring in it as well. Giarniero says the rehearsals have been going very well thus far with a little more than week left before opening night.
"The cast really likes the play," he said. "There is a lot for each character to do and it is not really stagnant at all. They have been very receptive to the writing and the script in general so they are going great. They really understand the whole thing. The comedy and the themes."
As far as the themes go, Gianiero, a Stratford resident, took a cue from a famous Rolling Stones song, which he hopes the audience will understand.
"You can't always get what you want," he said with a laugh. "The main character has to learn that lesson. At the end of it all, I'm still not so sure he completely got it. Another theme is the concept of wearing masks in front of everybody else and being someone else on the inside. Many of these characters in the story seem foolish but on the other side you end up seeing they have a lot of common sense. All the characters have hidden sides and thankfully the cast really understands that."
At the end of the day, Giarniero believes this play has the qualities necessary to become an Off-Broadway hit someday.
"I think it's a great comedy. All I want to do is make people laugh," he said. "If it resonates with people the way it has with me and the cast, then I know we have something special on our hands."
But even if it is not a success Giarniero is happy with what he has written.
"It's one of those things where you start writing something and you start laughing, you know you've got it. I usually have a play completed in my head before I start writing. It makes it easy because all I have to do is sit down and watch it in my head and transcribe it onto paper as the characters talk to me," he said. "As long the characters are talking to you then you know you are going to be OK."
"Boy Wonder?" will play at the Crystal Theatre Sept. 23, 24, 30 and Oct. 1. Tickets are $20 for adults, $18 for seniors and $15 for students. Tickets can be purchased at www.ticketleap.com or by calling 877-849-5327.