It seems the life of North Little Rock speech and drama teacher John Noland has taken two paths.
He enjoys teaching the young people of North Little Rock.
But he admits his creative and theatrical nature has brought out a desire to write and publish plays.
These desires to be published have yielded results in recent years as he recently published his third play.
“I have had three plays published all by Big Dog/Norman Maine Publishing,” Noland said. The three plays are based on classic fairy tales but with a twist.”
Noland said he likes to add comedy to classic writings.
“Some of my favorite comedic influences can be seen throughout my plays, such as Woody Allen, Mel Brooks and Monty Python,” Noland said.
Noland said he started writing plays at first as a way to save money for the school so the school district would not be required to pay royalty fees to use someone else’s work.
His second motivation is very similar to the old saying: If you want something done right, do it yourself.
“Many of the plays that I read were not as fun or funny as I would like so I decided to try my own hand at writing,” he said. “This allowed me to create plays that I felt were more suited to our needs, which included larger casts and broader audience appeal.It’s a funny feeling to be able to direct something that I write because I really do get to take it from page to stage.”
His first play, “Cinderella Redux” was written in 2009 and performed at the East Campus in November of the same year. “Snow White’s Minor Adventure” written in 2011 and performed in November that year.
“My latest play, Sleepy Beauty — A Very Merry Fairy Tale, was written and performed this year,” he said.
Roland said he has done a lot of different kinds of writing through the years, including promos for HBO, commercials and countless Readers Theater for his students’ competitions.
“I never dreamed that anyone would want to do the plays I had written and didn’t even send them out to publishers until last year,” Noland said.”It has been very rewarding to have my students be the first to perform these plays because they are listed as the “original cast” in the published play scripts.
Noland said he receives a lot of encouragement from his East campus co-workers which makes me work that much harder.
“My family influences all of my plays in a number of ways,” he said.
He said his wife, Dena, never complains about the hours he spends writing locked in his office.
“I usually spend the summer break writing and re-writing a play,” Noland said. “I usually like to run ideas and what I think are funny lines by her to see if they work. She shares my broad sense of humor.”
As the writer, he takes the liberty of using his children and grandchildren’s names for characters because they are such an important part of his life.
“I feel blessed to be able to create something that others seem to enjoy,” Noland said.
He has been teaching speech and drama in North Little Rock for 25 years.
Since 1990, Noland has been at the East Campus/Freshman campus where he is the Chairman of the Fine Arts Department.