CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Dan Kehde was to be found where he usually is to be found: in the bowels of the theater.
In this case, he was working on sets for the recent re-staging of the Contemporary Youth Arts Company production of "Lincoln" a the Capitol Center Theater in downtown Charleston, an opera Kehde wrote with Mark Scarpelli. But just because he has one ambitious production in the works doesn't mean the next one is not on his mind.
"I've got a new play called 'The Rack.' It opens April 3. It's the story of the family and the community after a kid goes into a Catholic elementary school and blows away 14 kids. It's been fascinating and just awful to research. Getting to know how troubled the guys are that do this."
Through the years, Kehde has written between 68 and 70 productions, he estimates. "I'm always writing something new."
This can add up to some impressive other numbers. CYAC has mounted some 108 productions in the past 16 years since the group's founding.
"When I added it up, I've been in rehearsals for about 5 1/2 years. That's ridiculous," said Kehde, laughing. As for individual performances, multiply by seven -- the usual run -- and Kehde has been around for some 700 shows.
"Something like that. It's a lot," he said. "I need my own coffee cup down here with 'DAN" on it."
Why does he do it?
"I don't know what else to do. I only have one talent and that's writing."