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how humbled i was.

April 2, 2011

i know that i haven’t updated in a long time. this week has easily been one of the busiest of my entire school career. but it’s a really damn good busy. i have things to mark, a poetry portfolio to finish before i take off to vegas (YIIPPEEE!!!) and brave new playrites is halfway through as of today. add to that my floundering thesis and it’s been nutso. but as i said – a good nutso. a sort of prolific nutso.

 

 

as i said – brave new playrites is going on. and i have a play in BNP – a play that i wrote. the first play i ever wrote, actually. i’m extremely inexperienced in playwriting, as i soon figured out in the first few weeks of my advanced playwriting class. i have really no concept about the way people move around the stage. i’m unsure of the physicality of writing for stage. and so it was humbling and exciting to read my classmates’ work and to see how more experienced playwrights did it.

on thursday night, i saw my play Acestor on stage – in costume, with the lighting and the props and all the actors – for the first time ever. i had been to one rehearsal before where i saw it done between the two leads four times, and even that didn’t prepare me for thursday.

first off, i loved it. ceding control to my director was really damn scary. playwriting and screenwriting are interesting in that they are forms in which you create something and then you pass it off to other people, and it’s not really your work anymore. let me tell you that as a writer who mainly works in forms that are way more selfish (poetry, fiction – forms that i can control every step of the way (mostly)) the idea of giving your play to somebody else to fiddle with it and change it around is terrifying. when i write – and when i wrote this play, which was based off a short story – i always have very very specific characters in mind. so when i gave my play over to daniel, my director, i prayed that he would somehow see through all my nervous bullshit and find the characters that i had written.

and he did.

 

for me, the challenge was removing myself from the process completely. i went to one of the last rehearsals, didn’t insinuate myself into the more formative ones. i checked in with daniel to see what kind of progress he was making, but until i went to that rehearsal, i didn’t even know what my male lead looked like. it was a real scary thing to just let my piece of writing float out there without knowing what was going on. but it’s totally inappropriate for a playwright to be all up in a director’s grill unless expressly asked. i didn’t want to be known as “that playwright”. and i’m pretty damn low on the pecking order because i’m so inexperienced in this form.

daniel wiped all my stage directions (thank god) and blocked his own. he and the actors decided on their costumes. he dictated the lighting. he changed the set from how i had described it. and thank god he did all of that. because his changes paid off completely. i had no idea of how to move people around the stage. daniel did.

 

watching my play was the scariest thing i’ve done in a long time. it’s one thing to watch it in rehearsal. it’s another thing all together to watch it with a live and reactive audience. the audience laughs at things i never meant to be funny. the audience recoils at things that i had hoped they wold recoil at. it’s a gongshow of emotions, let me say that. and the lights are bright and up and i’m in the second row, face to face with my leads, watching their every emotion. it was so intense at times i had to stare at my hands in my lap. i couldn’t even handle the brightness and intensity of it! but when i heard the audience sort of gurgle in disgust at a point in a monologue of the rape of daphne – a point where my male lead does this nasty motion with his fingers – i knew that i had done something right.

i am so humbled by the dedicated and talent of my actors and my director. when i burst out of the theatre and saw my actors in the hallway i gave them huge hugs (and most of you know that i hate hugging strangers. i am not a touchy feely person). and when my female lead morgan asked me if they had lived up to my expectations i nearly cried. i was so, so humbled. i said OF COURSE YOU DID. to be treated as the authority on the play i wrote is so odd and exciting and scary, and i am so very lucky to have had a great brave new experience.

 

that being said – go and see it!! my play is on at 8 pm tonight and 8 pm tomorrow night. check out the website for more information!

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