Doug Rutherford

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Prep for the playwriting competition

November 2011
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One more sleep!

I have most of what I need done before I go and lock myself in a hotel room for the annual Nakai Theatre 24 hour playwriting competition. I still haven’t packed clothes yet but that’s a quick job when you’re only gone for a day.

The competition has two components. One is for writing a new play from scratch and this was the one I entered last year. I had this thing on the back burner and would have entered earlier except I was in rehearsal or performance of plays for several years at the time when it’s held. Last year, I auditioned for a part and didn’t get it so I was free to do the competition. Actually, when I started, I really only had a concept and a setting but this seemed to develop without a lot of thought. I have another idea for a new piece in mind and did considering working on that for the competition.

The second component is for revising existing pieces that have never been produced. I decided, after some thought, to enter this one and see if I can finish the play I have on the go at the moment. Largely, the decision was made out of guilt. “Finish what you’re doing before you start a new project” spoke the little voice in my head. OK. Maybe, I shouldn’t bring the little voices into the conversation…

Moving on, I have spent copious hours making notes on what I have left to do. I’ve had two playwrights go over earlier drafts and both offered excellent suggestions. I also do have some tightening up to do and should be able to coalesce all this between 11 am tomorrow and 11 am Sunday. How far along am I? I actually started looking at another aspect of its creation: a production budget.

The competition is a really neat thing and I heartily endorse anyone interested in getting ideas out of your head and onto a piece of paper try it. There’s simply being locked away from distractions and spending your time working on your project. This alone makes this a worthwhile venture. There’s also lots of support, a dramaturg available to help you with your sticky bits, and, of course, the famous midnight whiskey tasting. The emphasis has been heavily oriented to Scotch so I’m bringing a wee bottle of Irish to raise the level class for the event.

Of course, the hotel does have internet access so I won’t be completely cut off from the world and the odd “brain break” does come in handy…


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