Ned Eckhardt: Biographical and IMP thoughts.....
I began my playwriting journey in Greenwich Village in the late ‘60s, took a LOT of time off to be a documentary Producer/Director and college Professor, and have now returned to playwriting and screenwriting. IMP is my first play in this new incarnation. My recent screenwriting career can be found at redbonescript.com and porkycscript.com. But IMP has taken over my life now.
During my last five years of teaching at Rowan University I was Director of a national initiative focused on providing media tools to college students that would help them counter the epidemic of sexual assaults in colleges. There were five universities and over 100 faculty and students involved. The project was called Pact5 and you can visit the website pact5.org to read and experience the results of three years of work.
During this experience I met Katya Palsi, who became deeply involved in the Pact5 project. She had been sexually assaulted and raped in high school and was determined to prevent other young women from experiencing the same kind of trauma. Katya had used her art to pull herself out of the doldrums and rebuild her life. Her paintings are large, filled with bright, swirling colors and have hints of sex, violence and anger in them. There is something unsettling, hypnotic, and sensual about them. Here's a link to photos of some of her work. Scroll down. https://www.instagram.com/kpalzz/
The passion Katya puts into her art as she continually seeks release from her past astounds everyone who sees her work. What if a fictional character with many qualities of Katya found herself suddenly immersed in a dangerous situation where she was being exploited for money and people surrounding her were shifting their alliances? Add music, lyrics, and dance and you have IMP.
IMP is empowering after a coming of age experience that is filled with both pain and love.I believe IMP has a message that everyone can relate to. Life can be hard, but we all have the power to overcome.
The music I hear in my head runs through Puccini, Dvorac, and Webber. The continuous storyline might resemble The Most Happy Fella, Carousel, and Cabaret. As far as I can tell there has never been a play that centers on an artist and her work, while incorporating the art work into the setting. I believe IMP has a soul we can all respond to.
IMP uses this art work as a visual representation of the sensual chaos we all feel at different moments in our lives.
What if a fictional character with many qualities of Katya found herself suddenly immersed in a dangerous situation where she was being exploited for money and people surrounding her were shifting their alliances? Add music, lyrics, and dance and you have IMP.
IMP is a drama with lyrics searching for either spoken word or musical scoring. As I wrote the lyrics I envisioned the songs incorporated into the action so the story flows continuously. The Gallery Goers form a chorus in the IMP Gallery and choreography could easily be added to the action.
"A small Art Gallery and its passionate resident artist, Margot DuBois, become entangled in a mob scheme to turn her suddenly popular paintings into big money. As everyone in the Gallery soon discovers, there is a heavy price to pay for the profits. As the mob discovers, it isn’t wise to mess around with Margot DuBois."
A charismatic, mixed-race singer-songwriter (Ben Nighthawk) with a haunting voice and a terrible secret has been chosen to star in a music documentary TV series pilot. The lead camera on the documentary crew (Francine Olsen) suddenly realizes the singer is the man who killed her sister eighteen years ago. While the suits at Global Media in NYC argue and fight about the content and direction of the pilot, the documentary crew follows Ben through eclectic performance venues in small-town settings. Francine is haunted by the memory of her sister's death and must come to grips with the reality of killing another human being. She struggles with this burden of revenge, until life throws her a terrible curve ball.