Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Learning Some Things

I'm writing this the evening of our last rehearsal for February to August, the ten-minute play I wrote and directed. Tomorrow evening (8:00pm, One Main Street, University of Houston-Downtown, O'Kane Theater), It will have its one run before an audience---in this iteration.
Isak Durmic and Kay McStay in February to August
 I've learned so much doing this small piece of theater. It's really the first script that I've written that I've actually gotten on the stage. (I suppose you might count the sort of sketch/vaudeville script I wrote around existing music for the Bastrop Opera House in 1986---The Grasshopper Hill State Fair and Tent Show---but just barely.) Shortly after I graduated college, I wrote a script that almost got produced and then it didn't---On Life, Living, and Being Alive (a 20-something's naive yet potentially charming comic exploration of the meaning of life, and I'm pretty sure it's okay it was never produced)----and in the early 1990s, there was a one-act play---Our Father (a drama that took place in a funeral home parlor, full of shouting and secrets between siblings), another happily unproduced script). Very low dramatic output for a writer with a BFA in theater. (Now that I mention the BFA, i did stage a scene from On LIfe for my senior recital.)

So tomorrow night is full of anticipation and dread and desire to do it all over again. I've learned some things about why it's difficult to direct your own script. I've learned some things about stage writing that I knew (or should have) but didn't quite exercise in this script. I've learned that rewriting is a great companion on the way and that there are probably really good reasons there are multiple versions of Angels in America produced, at least from Tony Kushner's point of view.

All of which was more than I intended to ramble on about tonight. Tonight, all I really wanted to write about was that the process of rehearsals and working with actors on my own script has been an education---one I may write about more after the show, but definitely one that I will work to put to use as I move to put my long one act, The City, A Desert. If for no other reason, I'm glad I produced February to August before I set seriously to work to get this longer work on its legs.

Thanks to Kay McStay (Patty) and Isak Durmic (Andrew) for giving me this education, and particularly to Dr Thomas Lyttle, who let me crash his directing class's final projects (my play will be presented with student directed one-acts) with my own project.

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