Arts & Events

Eye from the Aisle: Local Masquers Playwright in Samuel French OOB Finals in NYC

By John A. McMullen II
Monday June 20, 2011 - 10:28:00 AM
Rana Kangas-Kent, Conrad Cady
Jerry Telfer
Rana Kangas-Kent, Conrad Cady
Jim Colgan, author “The Story of Oh”
Jim Colgan, author “The Story of Oh”

Playwrights come from motley day-jobs: George Bernard Shaw was an estate-office clerk, Anton Chekhov was a physician, and Jim Colgan is an asbestos defense attorney.

Local playwright Colgan’s “The Story of Oh” was one of the 40 out of 1000+ applicants selected for the Samuel French OFF-OFF- Broadway Festival of Short Plays in NYC in July. 

“The Story of Oh (Revised and Abridged)” won Best Play last year at Marin Fringe Festival at Dominican College in San Rafael that Annette Lust produces. 

The 40 selected plays will be performed July 19-24 at the Lion Theatre on 42ndvStreet. Twelve will be selected for the finals, and the top six chosen will have their play published by Samuel French. 

Colgan came to the Bay from Appalachian Kentucky to study musical compostion, and got a MA in it from SFSU. But he turned to dramatic composition instead, studied playwrighting with the locally famous teacher Will Dunne, and headed up the new play readings at Masquers Playhouse in Point Richmond. Last January, he had his play about a serial killer “The Zahsman Murders,” produced by Arclight Repertory in San Jose. 

I asked Jim Colgan the typical interviewer question about how he came up with the idea for “The Story of Oh” 

“So up at a B&B in Gualala for some R&R, and I’m musing out loud to my companion about how many times a day we use the word ‘Oh ’ to express things like for frustration, surprise, disgust, titillation, to stubbing your toe, all a variety of completely different emotions,” he told me over the phone. 

“And, of course, there is the natural double entendre with the S&M book ‘The Story of O,’” Colgan said. 

I gathered that it seemed that a sense of orgiastic debauchery would be integral to the play. 

“I let it percolate for about three months, then I sat down and wrote it in about two hours plus tweaking.” 

The play is a sex farce with easy to memorize dialogue consisting only of the word “Oh ” in various meanings, positions, situations, all flowing from one another. Quick entrances and exits, often with characters caught in a lustful embrace, pepper the spicy scenes. Colgan used the descriptive phrase “in flagrante delicto” just as a good lawyer ought (i.e., “in blazing offense,” or, caught in the act). 

“I was lucky to get the cast I have. Not everyone is comfortable with semi-nudity and sexuality. But these actors are uninhibited which is a great attribute for an actor to have. My female cast members started to disrobe at the first rehearsal, and I had to slow them down.” 

You can view a video of the ten-minute play at 

His cast members Rana Kangas-Kent, Simon Patton, Rachael Denny and C. Conrad Cady are going with him to New York City to perform the play. 

Contributions accepted via Pay Pal via thestoryofO@yahoo.comor send checks to The Masquers, 

PO Box 71037, Richmond CA 94807. 

Also, check out the official (and quite amusing) Samuel French Company interview with Colgan at