Editing, editing, editing

I’ve received some comments from friends on the play I am currently writing. This is more than helpful.

When you work in a bubble of self, there are things you will invariably miss, particularly true when, like me, you mentally image what you write. While something may be rather obvious to me in that mental picture, it may not make itself to the script. Sadly, I’m the only one that can see those mental images (or, hopefully, I’m the only one who can see those mental images). It is nice to have someone point out things that don’t add up, errors in continuity, or omissions.

By the way, this is not an easy job. You have to look at someone else’s work dispassionately, often working word to word, to find the problems that have not occurred to the author. It takes a lot of time as well… time people have often donated of their free will.

So, let me take this chance to say, “Thank you” to all who have given their time and effort to make someone else’s work better. Your suggestions may not all be used; however, your work is deeply appreciated, nonetheless…

I want to go luging

Since the Olympics are coming up, I can once again admit that I have always wanted to try luge. I know, the sanity level involved in laying exposed on a sled hurtling down a track at about 130 kph may be questionable.

And, now, albeit on a small scale, I may get my chance. One of the college students is supervising the construction of a short luge track. I will be small, but I’m sure will function to get this out of my system.

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Top of the luge track

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The curve

Interestingly, this interest in luge does not apply to skeleton. Yes, you are exposed and still go at about the same speed. However, unlike luge where you go feet first, skeleton goes head first. And, some mental oddity makes me think that, if I hit something at 130 kph, it’ll make a lot of difference if you hit feet first…

Hoarfrost

We’ve had a marvellous winter. Our January thaw lasted almost three weeks, with temperatures at or above 0°C throughout. In short, it has not been the traditional Yukon winter, although we haven’t really had a really cold winter in quite a while.

The advantage of the warm weather has been that it hasn’t been quite as dry as usual. My sinuses and hide are both quite grateful over that, by the way. And, another advantage has been that when the temperature eventually did drop south of freezing, we get a nice freezing fog and hoarfrost.

I like the way that frost and sunlight interact, so went out on the front step while the sun was starting to drop and grabbed a few pictures. After all, it’s nice to have an excuse to play with the new camera…

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Homegrown Theatre Festival

My application form and fee are in for the 2014 Nakai Theatre Homegrown Theatre Festival. This runs from May 6-11 in Whitehorse and looks to promote local theatre developers. Most productions get three runs through the festival.

This year, I am entering the play I started writing last January. It’s presently called And on the second day, although this is its second and fourth title. I started writing it after the Newtown shootings and it deals with school shootings, from the perspective of the shooter.

I’m going to do it as a reading, as things stand now. The play has a large cast, a total of 15 with 10 speaking parts. I’m not sure, given how popular the festival is and how hard it is to get people, if I will get all 10, but I can have some people read more than one part. I looked to try and “cull the herd”  bit, but there is no way to tell the story without this many characters.

So, I’m still doing final edits. I’ll probably be looking for readers sometime in March and will put out a call for people then.

Meeting with the dramaturg

I spent about 1½ hours yesterday meeting with David Skelton, Artistic Director at Nakai Theatre, for some dramaturgy work on the draft of my new play. This is a free service provided by the company, which is largely concerned with local theatre development and one which I heartily endorse… and exploit.

The whole idea behind the 24 hour challenge, although actually called the playwriting challenge, is really to come up with a draft. Mine was started earlier, but still is really in its very early stages (despite the fact that I’m on the fourth title for it). I was a little stuck on a few parts. There were things that really needed strengthening and clarifying.

That being said, I came away with more questions than I had earlier. That, however, is a good thing, since these are ones that, when answered, will help bring this beast to its knees.

All in all, I don’t often walk away thinking, “That was a great meeting…”

Another Nakai Playwriting Challenge comes to a happy end

I entered the Nakai 24 Hour Playwriting Challenge (it used to be Festival but that seems to have changed) again this year. I wanted to work on a play I had started in January, planning to enter the category for play already in development.

That part is called the Nakai Next 24 Hour Challenge. I thought, with a prize for best new play, shouldn’t there be one called Best Used Play? This suggestion has been frowned upon by the hosting organization, by the way.

After the shootings in Newtown, Connecticut, I wanted to look at the question of school shootings and why someone would actually do it? What would make a person take one or more firearms to school and use them?

After a little preliminary research, I found that this a far more frequent occurrence than most of us believe, and in most cases, does not reflect the ones we see displayed on the national news organizations as a whole. In fact, my underlying question has changed now to, “Why doesn’t this happen more often.”

The short version is I won (second time in three years, he gloated). Now, it’s time to shift gears and look at putting the play in the upcoming Homegrown Theatre Festival in May. Right now, I looking at doing a reading of the full play. This, however, means I will be looking for 10 readers (it has a rather large cast). A call for readers will go out later…

Do the dead speak?

As we stand for two minutes of silence, we remember those who are not able to communicate with us directly because they did not return from their term of service.

But, even though we are no longer able to hear their voices, the dead do speak. They speak when you cast a ballot in an election. Their words resound when you wear a crucifix, or a yarmulke, or a kirpan, or a hijab. They are heard in every letter to the editor, or when 3,000 march to protest the hypocritical closing of the Veteran’s Affairs office in Sydney.  They echo when you join a union, a political party, a club or group of any type.

Do the dead speak? They speak every day. Our job is to listen.

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