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The tall, blue-eyed (both required physical attributes on Pinky's P.C. list) Templeton speaks from his office in Santa Rosa, neatly dressed in black and white. "It's interesting to take something based on reality and turn it into a piece of fiction, because the fiction starts to seem in some ways realer," says Templeton. "Now if you say 'Pinky' to me, I see Liz Jahren, I don't see the 14-year-old girl I fell in love with."
"I think of it fondly as a very sweet time," says the real-life Pinky by phone, driving home from her job at Disneyland in Southern California. "David's always been a fabulous writer, very expressive, very detailed and very whimsical. I think he's probably transformed it into a very touching story, and the fact that we had some reality on which it was based is a nice connection."
In a decade remembered as much for its disco music, hot-tub sex and bong jokes so aptly portrayed on That '70s Show, Pinky's backstory conversely reads as pure as the driven snow of Caradhras. Pinky describes her peers as good, moral, happy teenagers with lots of energy and few obligations, a far cry from today's overloaded—pun intended—teens. "My mom didn't have to worry," says Pinky. "We had a commonality which was the fantasy and the role-playing, and we had a lot of fun. But I didn't recognize the romantic aspects of it."
Jahren, a seasoned stage veteran, has starred as Mae West in Dirty Blonde and as the die-hard fan of the country legend in the long-running Always, Patsy Cline. "She's a chameleon," Templeton raves. "Liz as Pinky is so amazing and sweet and hilarious. She's got the comedy of the character, and has turned her into an icon of girlish fantasies and wisdom."
Both actors also play the eight other characters in the two-hour play, inflecting them with distinctive voices and body language to clearly identify them to the audience. "Part of our director Sheri Lee Miller's brilliance is recognizing that David is very verbal, so he is very still. Pinky is action-oriented, so she's all over the stage acting everything out."
The real-life Pinky did eventually realize romance when, following her motto "true love is worth waiting for," she met and married her real-life husband, sans the blue eyes. And though she's kept her Lady Galadriel outfit, Pinky has yet to share the story with her husband of 30 years.
Templeton, however, says his wife is charmed by it. "The part of me that'll always be 15 or 16 will always love my memories of Pinky at that time," he continues. "But now that I'm 50 and I have my life, and that was so long ago, there is no pining for something that might've been. I'm happy to have this memory from my childhood that I look back on fondly and now have turned into something that can hopefully touch and inspire and please other people."