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Radio Guru Donna McKenzie Co-Authors Super-Sexy Political Thriller

He knows about political machinations. She knows how to write steamy love scenes. It took a merging of their literary styles to bring about the world premiere of The Boundary, a new play that tells the story of a “crisis management expert who couldn't manage the crises in his own life,” says Doug Williams, who drew upon personal experiences when writing the first draft.

The script really took off when veteran Houston media personality Donna McKenzie (Texas Radio Hall of Fame nominee) took a crack at it. Williams says they had been working together for a while in a literary group and were familiar with each other's style, and that their collaboration really added depth to the project. “Donna came in and reshaped the characters and reshaped the plot; the really strong emotional dialogue is her,” says Williams. “We really have a balance.”

He actually began working on the project about 25 years ago while in a writer's group, and early efforts were more political in tone. “I wanted it to be a love story, but because of my background, it became an angry political narrative. I was a press secretary in Washington. I did organizing. I did work in the African-American community during the George Wallace years in Alabama.”

McKenzie says the play is both a comedy and an “edge-of-your-seat, super-sexy political thriller,” and has praise for the cast, adding that the lead (Mykle McCoslin, who portrays a romance writer) has a “strong résumé,” is a fixture in the local film and television community, and was a cast member on TV's The Astronaut Wives Club.

The main character's former lover and “wanted-by-the-FBI-guy” is played by Travis Ammons. In 2012 we named this writer-actor-director-collaborator-musician-editor-filmmaker-novelist-screenwriter one of our 100 creatives (it seemed a more succinct description at the time).

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Howard Block (Queensbury Theatre's Wait Until Dark) portrays her husband, and Williams says that he was a slam-dunk during auditions: As soon as Block started reading the lines, they knew he was their guy.

Malinda L. Beckham directs this Dirt Dogs Theatre Company production (Beckham, Trevor B. Cone and John Baker). The cast of 12 includes John Dunn, Heidi Hite, Andraes Hunt, John Kaiser, Melissa J. Mayo, Jim Salners, Giovanni Sandoval, Marilyn Swick and LaTeace Towns-Cuellar.

Williams says that the director, design team and writers are not taking any money for this production. “What we've opted to do is, anything beyond our hard cost goes directly to the actors and crew. Any profits go to the actors.” They've also added the project to indiegogo.com, and the crowdfunding endeavor already is helping with some of the costs for the venue, insurance, set construction and costumes.

The Boundary runs March 25 through April 2. 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; 3 p.m. March 27; 7:30 p.m. March 31, Dirt Dogs Theatre Company at The MATCH, 3400 Main, 713-561-5113, matchouston.org/events/boundary. $20. 

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