5. WHAT I LEARNED IN 2009, part 1:

It occurs to me that before I start blogging about how PHISHING revisions are going, I could share one of the most important lessons that I believe I’ve learned in the last two years. It’s probably quite obvious to most of you, but it was a revelation to me.

I actually can’t remember which one of my theater teachers taught me this, however I’ve known for years that published plays include a transcription of the play’s first production blocking and designs. I understand that transcription is generally struck from a play by actors and directors in rehearsal during subsequent productions. I’ve done it myself with a sturdy black felt-tip pen.

What I didn’t realize until last year is that some actors and directors see no difference between the transcription and the playwright’s descriptions. In fact they may be indistinguishable from each other, and I’ve been told that OC storefront theater directors and actors strike them all.

I am not sure if this is endemic in all professional theater training programs or just storefront theaters in the OC, or if it’s even a factual representation of what is actually taking place in rehearsals at all, but I was shocked when I first learned it might be true.

If I remember correctly, Tennessee William’s depiction of the United States and southern American life in 27 WAGONS FULL OF COTTON made my descent into Flora’s world possible. I studied acting with Jose Quintero in college. I don’t remember him saying so, but I was reminded at dinner recently that he encouraged us to read the descriptions.

Yet in the last two years when I have occasionally looked back at my role in PHISHINGs 2008 failure, I discovered that beyond personality differences and conflicting work ethics, beyond my ease with and apparent overuse of electronic communications, beyond every awful name I may have been or may still be called behind my back, the bottom line is, I realize that PHISHINGs director and music director misunderstood my play and that the blame, if any should be assigned, was NOT their own.

More later…

Erica Bennett

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