Sometime while the one-man Wynkoop shows were playing in Kansas, California, Colorado, and Oklahoma, director Tom Eubanks approached me about expanding the script into a full-length play. I completed a draft and it gathered dust on his desk for a couple of years. Actually, it should have died, as it featured too many characters—certainly for the Petit Playhouse (Elite Theatre Company), where Tom was artistic director. In 2008 Tom suggested cutting it down to a two-character play and felt that Mo-nahs-e-tah (I’ve phonetically spelled her name here) would be a good choice as the other character. She had lived through many of the events the Cheyennes experienced during the 1860s and knew Wynkoop. Although she had never been mentioned in any of the one-man shows, she played a large role in the unusable draft. I agreed with Tom’s suggestion, and Cheyenne Blood became reality.
In early 2009, while I was still writing the script, Tom called and said he didn’t want to have an open casting for the role of Monahsetah, but wanted to just select an actress. I was good with this as I trusted his judgment, and a few weeks later I met Tom at a theater in Ventura County to see Tanya Thomas perform. She wasn’t only pretty, but a talented actress; I couldn’t have been happier.
Rehearsals began, and went on for five weeks. Just the three of us (and a sound & lighting technician). Tom is easy to work with, and our rehearsals are always loose and fun. Tanya fit right in, easily joining in with our back & forth one-upping humor.
The play ran for five weeks in California. Good times for me—good times. Tanya was an even better actress than I thought and the entire ten weeks seemed to pass in the blink of an eye.
Unfortunately to take this show on the road would be a lot more difficult than taking the one-man shows on the road, not to mention the cost. But, whenever opportunity presents itself I listen.