I’m several minutes in to the reading of my script Shelby’s Vacation (see previous entry) and something’s gnawing at me. Why is this woman on vacation? I’m asking as an audience member. I’m feeling the need to know. Then suddenly my writer brain kicks in (not to be confused with my reptilian brain), and I suddenly remember: a scene is missing.
Fortunately, this didn’t derail the whole reading. What was going on in the present was engaging, I cared about who was onstage and their relationships and wasn’t worried about the past.
The next day, on a sunny porch (with 117 acres of woodland behind me and a pond made for taking a dip in front of me), I calmly chatted with the director and asked about the missing scene. He apologized and said he couldn’t figure out a way to stage it but would try and work something out for that night’s performance. He was a genius at all the other scenes so I was surprised this one scene tripped him up.
That night… the scene was missing again. In the Q & A with the audience afterwards, one fellow mentioned he had trouble following Shelby’s boss in a scene near the end where she’s talking about her upcoming wedding. Mmmhmm. I politely mentioned there was a scene that hadn’t been read that would have set it up. The director spoke up and said this was his fault.
There was so much that was funny and sharp and relatable and touching about the reading, I actually wasn’t angry about the missing scene. It seemed not worth having my reptilian brain go on the attack. And the fact that an audience member missed it, well, that was confirmation it needed to be there. The director asked (not during the Q & A on stage) if that scene is in the script, then wouldn’t it stop Shelby from fantasizing about her boss? The boss is no longer available. Good question.
No, she would still fantasize for awhile – it’s hard to let those things go, even when your fantasy person is off the market. And that happens to be the journey of the play – she learns to live in the present.
The same cannot be said of me. Part of me is still in Vermont.