Thursday, November 15, 2007

Mind. Blown.

I'm going to talk about writing, specifically writing for performance so before I do I feel compelled to point you to Pamie. She is a professional writer for performance and has subsequently become a Strike Captain for her corner of the WGA strike. She is also a web icon and a wonderful person from what I can tell. She certainly tells the strike story well and gives you a good idea of what you can do and what the strike is about. I especially like her friend's defense of Ellen Degeneres character (if you've read it on Perez Hilton you owe Pamie $1, he stole it from her), which illustrates the huge gray areas in a conflict like this.

Anyway, rehearsal is awesome.

I have been working once a week for 2 hours in a rehearsal studio on 2 new pieces. I have rented a theatre for the 15th & 16th of February (Save the Date!) and I've asked a number of wonderful women to perform with me and we're developing original work to perform on that weekend. So far I've tended to spend 1 hour writing and 1 hour working on the non-verbal piece. Last week I felt like I really had hit the end of the first draft on the written piece. I couldn't go any further on my own and I needed to hear it out loud. So I called Peter Weekly and asked if he could get together for a coffee shop read of what I'd written. Technically there were small chunks that we'd read and the lion's share of the piece is monologue.

Or...was...(that's foreshadowing in the parlance of the profession).

For the most part I'd put together a piece of work, a solo piece, from a short story by Lisa Tuttle. I felt that the bits that I'd written between these monologues were weak and perhaps overdone. PW's first comment was that he likes my writing. He's a flatterer. He went on to say that he wondered why I was drawn to monologues. When I explained where the monologues had come from he was even more confused as to why I was using them. In short order he'd convinced me that the more interesting, more dramatic, in short better choice was to find what I was attracted to in the short story and bring it to the form I'd written myself.

Do you fully grasp this? I'm cutting out the majority of what I've written/adapted and now I have to re-write my parts to include what is important to that. Re-craft my parts, even. It is the right and terrifying choice.

This is not new news. My father has often said, "Now it's time to hear your writing." I have a penchant for mimicry. I like to choose a style or a story and emulate it, to grow from a seedling someone else has planted, if you will. Pony Express has said it too and I'm sure they're not the only ones. The thing is, I like to write that way. Turns out it's not always the best choice. It's not that I didn't believe Pony and my father, it's just that PW had a right place right time situation and a good example and was able to convince me.

So now I'm flying without a freaking net. There's no keeping in one good joke so I know one thing will work because it was written by someone I find brilliant. It'll be all me. We sat in a coffee shop and then a bar for about three hours and we dissected the characters so I can see them more clearly and, knowing their motivations, I can find the overall story arc. When I hit rehearsal tomorrow I'll be spending the first few minutes getting very familiar with the delete key. This is petrifying and yet, for once, I'm looking forward to it. I can't wait to keep writing and to see what happens next.

I am very lucky to have had a number of collaborators who really know me. I can show them something I've been working on and they can see beyond what I have written or performed to what it can and should be. They can see what I wish I had done and they can help me get there with a well-placed comment or question. Pony Express is one of these people, my mentor is of course another, Jay was one, too. Turns out PW is one. Did I mention my luck? He's got a gentle manner when he rips out my heart and chops it into tiny pieces so it's relatively easy to really hear what he says. I couldn't do what I do without these people and I am so very grateful for their time and effort on my part. I was feeling entirely stuck before tonight's meeting and now I'm just feeling creative and optimistic and full of fun.

Who backs your play? (As the kids say.)

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