Kitty Felde – January 19, 2011
One other thought about writing this ‘trick myself into writing something’ play. I’ve decided to try some of the techniques I admire in other plays but never employ in my own.
I rail against ‘kitchen sink dramas’ all the time and crave a real theatrical experience. But how often do I write them myself? Not often enough.
Since this children’s play I’m writing “doesn’t really matter” (that’s what I keep telling myself to stop putting pressure on myself to make it FABULOUS) I can experiment, get outside my comfort zone.
So here are my rules:
Simplify. I’m always writing large cast pieces with complicated plots. For this piece, I’ve decided to simplify the play at its core: it’s the story of a relationship between a girl and her grandmother. All other characters come and go.
Well, that was the first thought. Now a best friend has cropped up for the girl and he’s threatening to become a more fully realized character. But okay. Everybody ELSE comes and goes.
Dare to offend. I’m fairly polite and probably overly politically correct in my personal and professional life. Why be that way onstage? I’m going to RISK offending people. Writing characters that are not from my background or life experience and bring troublesome images on stage. Yes, in a children’s play. It will go over the heads of the kids and drive the parents crazy. Which is the point.
Make stage magic. My Skype playwriting pal Ellen Struve described a very bad production of “A Christmas Carol” that was saved by one thing: it snowed – not just onstage, but also IN the audience. Magic happened somewhere in that theatre. That’s what I want to try onstage. Vegetables dance. Pictures talk. We’ll see how far I can pull this off. But just giving yourself permission to try things is fun.
No judgments until you get to the end of the first draft. I’m making notes about this or that (didn’t I already write a similar scene? Isn’t this scene inappropriate for the age range of the audience?), but I’m not trying to fix anything. Yet. The goal is to get to the end.
Have some fun. So far, so good.