March 20th 2015
This past Tuesday my playwrights group met for the third time. I have never been in a playwright group and I wanted to see what I was missing. The notion, initiated by moi meme (but now with a life of its own), was to bring a group of scripts and their scribes together to hear the work read out loud – either by the playwright or by the other playwrights. This sounds simple enough but I didn’t realize there is a huge emotional component to the process. It is the first time the words have been printed. The first time they have left the house. The first time they will be seen by anyone else. The first time they will be spoken aloud. You can’t help being nervous which I suspect may be what’s good about it.
I participated for the first time on Tuesday. I decided to read from Double Trouble (aka The Parent Trap) which goes into rehearsal at Imagination Stage in late June. I thought the script was finished. As I prefer reading my own work, I decided I’d better rehearse my selection before I foisted it on my colleagues. Well my goodness. The blue pen was in my hand by the time I got to page one quarter. Words were changed, speeches re-ordered, lines cut. Every one of the twenty pages had changes and, I sincerely think, they were improvements. The nervous energy I was feeling gave the work a new focus, my attention a new acuity.
The reading itself went well but Bev Cooper asked one simple question – “Why don’t the girls tell their parents?”
I stumbled on the answer but then remembered.
“Their parents separated them when they were babies. They’re afraid, if they tell them now, that their parents will continue to keep them apart”.
To which Bev replied, “Is that foreshadowed?”
“Yes”, I said, “in Act One…. but I’m going to look just to make sure”.
I did look. It was foreshadowed but given the new importance I knew that beat now had, I strengthened it.
Over beer, the other two playwrights, Susan Stover and Michael Ross Albert also reported solid gains.
Have a great weekend.