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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…”
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…
A quick update on what’s happening with a play I’m producing…
I’ve been asked what’s the future for Fracture Zone. The answer is that I’m looking at doing two more rewrites. The first is before booking a theatre and doing a two-week short run to workshop it out in March of next year. I’m also looking at submitting it for a theatre festival in Vancouver for next May.
If you are a local actor, note that a call for auditions will be going out in a few months. I’ll post it in the usual place (round up the usual suspects?) and so you should keep your eyes open. There are 3 characters, a male in his 40s or 50s, a male in his 30s and and female in her 30s to 40s.
At the moment, I’m still working on timeline and budget things, so I’m not ready to do the call yet…
I have been on the high and low hunt for my mother’s birth certificate for about a day and a half. Eventually, I found it. However, I found a few other things in my search.
I found a few pictures, including one of me when I was much younger, wearing nothing but a strategically placed guitar. I also found the two letters of reference my father used when he joined the Navy in 1947.
The one I found most enlightening… and surprising, was the one written by his high school principal. It listed that he had passed all of his subjects, except the optional French and Latin. Then it listed the two subjects in which he excelled. Mathematics was not a surprise, given that he worked in marine engineering. The second, however, threw me for a loop, as it would be one of the last subjects I expected.
My father excelled in Drama…
I have a number of things I really would like to get around to doing. The camper repairs need finishing, the boat needs seasonal setup, the mosquito vac needs fixing and so on.
I also have the last showing of the play tonight, but plenty of time to get to most of these things. However, I seem to have no ambition today whatsoever. I’ve run through my lines twice. All seems well, so I probably could go out and work.
After a little thinking, I’ve decided I’m going to take things easy and enjoy today. After all, it’s the last day of a run and I think I’m due for a little laziness.
Maybe, if I call it efficiency, since it looks exactly the same as laziness, it will sound a bit better…
We survived opening night and it seemed to go over very well. Some people found that it wasn’t what they had expected, although I do try to explain that the earthquake is the backdrop to the play and not the play itself. Yes, it has funny moments. Yes, the scene we present does end with a bit of a surprise. I like surprises.
However, there was a bit of playwright abuse at the end. Clara explained something to Heather and me that my grandson, Ryan, had commented upon.
Ryan: I think Heather has a crush on Poppy.
Ryan: She laughs at all of his jokes and they’re not that funny.
I got a bit of a giggle out of that until Heather responded, “It’s the only way I could get cast.”
Fortunately, it was the only abuse I got last night. I can live with that…
Well, it all seems to have come down to this. At 8:15, the play gets to see the light of day, so to speak. Actually, an audience gets to see part of the play.
After all this time, I would assume that I would be well inured to all of this getting ready, rehearsing, etc. Nope. I’m a wreck. I didn’t sleep well last night, running through dialogue. Then, when I finally got to sleep a little bit, we got a phone call and had to take a friend to the hospital. This was my morning. I was going to pace myself a wee bit and work up to this evening. Oh, well.
I have a few things to pack up and a bit of hockey to watch. Then I’ll grab a shower and go and pick up Heather and head off to the theatre. Am I ready for this? I guess we’ll know in a few hours…
Dress rehearsal day seemed to be a bit more hectic than most. It started first with heading down to CBC for an interview. Two of us, Amanda MacDonald and I, were interviewed about our plays in the Homegrown Theatre Festival. The interview can be found here.
We had tech and dress on the same evening. This was slightly dampened by Heather being sick as a dog (it was dress rehearsal… someone had to be sick). She suffered through it though and I have to give her the “Tougher than a Boiled Owl” award for outstanding performance while nauseous.
Well, no rehearsal this week so I go back to being a plumber. Or an RV tech. Or, at least trying to approximate one or the other.
I borrowed a good basin wrench and found a file. So, other than a bit of memorisation over the weekend, I get the opportunity to run the new water lines and hopefully, deal with that little leak problem. Of course, this will take place after the game is over…
I always enjoy the first read through of a play. I’ll discount the fact that I kind of know the contents. However, when you get to see an actor’s interpretation of the dialogue, it is always neat. A script is really nothing more than words on a page and how it gets presented is always a congruence of the vision of the director, the actors and the designers.
There’s a great quote, although I can’t remember who said it or exactly how it goes. Basically, you pour your heart and soul into writing a play, and then, hand it to a directors, actors and designers who ruin it. Since I’m the director and the designer and half the actors, and since Heather is doing a stunning job in the other half, I don’t think we’ll ruin it…
There are a few things left to get on this weekend. I’m going to need a large coffee urn, although I do have a backup plan if I don’t get it. I need to draft the press release for the play. I need to line up someone to videotape the play during tech week. I also have to do a bit of design work yet, too. I don’t know what days the play will run or the times it will run. I find that out next week. At the same time, I find out which of the two rooms we go in, and I’ll need that to finalize quite a few things.
I also want to fit in some work on the motorhome. After all, camping season is coming right after the festival and I need to be ready. With the winter we’ve had, the lakes should be open early and the sooner fishing comes, the better…