Friday, January 11, 2008

One play written, one more to go!

If this festival is like a relay race, then I have just passed the baton.

After three or four fitful starts of other ten-minute plays, I finally started writing something resembling characters on stage with actual dialogue at about 11:30. After much sweat and anguish, I finished a draft, rewrote, rewrote again, trimmed, cut and polished and finally threw in the towel sometime after 2 am. There comes a point when you just can’t think things through anymore. Not that this play is all that thought out.

I woke up at 7:00 am (getting probably just about 4 ½ hours of sleep) and looked at it again. Okay. Not brilliant, but not horrible. There’s some potential for laughter and possibly some actual real sentiment.

At 8:06 am I emailed the “finished” play RESURRECTING THE KING. And then I took a shower and had some coffee before getting in the car to head to CHAC for the 9 am meeting.

If you think writing a ten-minute play is hard, you should try to drive at rush hour from Northgate to Capitol Hill and find parking in 45 minutes.

I arrived at the meeting just as it had gotten started and they were announcing what directors had what plays. My director is Jose Amador. He’s also an actor and I’ve seen in the Quickes Short Play Festival at LiveGirls! Theater. We both grabbed some coffee and he went outside to smoke and read the play. I ate a bagel and drank my coffee and chatted with two of the actors, Trick and Megan. Megan is a virgin, like me and was very excited and nervous. The casting had yet to begun.

And by casting, I mean that the directors randomly draw names out of a hat. I think the coolest thing about the 14/48 festival is the egalitarian (and my PhD wife would say Marxist) nature of the process. No one competes. No is favored. All are equals. It’s all random. Your choice of play, lineup in the evening, what you write about, your director, your actors, all that. This creates this really positive vibe. I gotta give credit to Shawn and the steering committee and everyone working on it—they all are pretty cool.

Most importantly, a keg is tapped. All day. And it’s free for us artists. I love getting paid in beer.

Now, if I were really smart, I would’ve planned to take the day off work and sleep and/or be drinking that beer. But I didn’t. Color me stupid.

Anywho—Jose drew names and we got Megan as one of our cast members, who I was so merrily chatting with earlier. We also got Bret Fetzer, John Bartley, Amy Fleetwood, and John Q. Public (is that seriously his real name?). We went to the rehearsal room and I sat and watched everyone read. One of them chuckled (thank you!). I was feeling a little anxious and like I’ve given them total crap to work with, but after the first and second reading, I thought, “these folks are gonna be brilliant!”

Then I went off to work…I hope they doing all right. I can’t wait to see what happens tonight.

But also, looming in the back of my brain is the fact that at 9:30 pm, after the first show, they’ll draw another theme, and I have to go off and write another play. I just pray I got a smaller cast—like three would be good…

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