I seem to remember a game of dodgeball where you would line up against a schoolyard wall, and some psychopathic child would try and smack you with a hard rubber ball. There would be screams and laughter and bruises, and if you wore hideous cats eye glasses like I did, invariably you would get smacked in the face and your glasses would get broken.
Writing my newest script reminds me of that game. Trying to get out of the way of the ball, running into walls and people, and chaos and pushing and yelling. All this because an unwelcome character showed up in the script this past month. I knew I was writing towards him, but he isn’t what I expected, and there he is. I’m going to refocus on another script while I think about this dodgeball character.
What has really helped cope with this change in direction is sharing the script/writings with another playwright I really respect. The comments and feedback have been a kind of tough love/insight I couldn’t give myself. (Thank you MD~!)
From the ICWP (International Centre for Women Playwrights) Nina Gooch posted an article that really lifted my spirits. Ursula Le Guin is working with the Portland Playhouse & Hand2Mouth Theater on a new stage version of her The Left Hand of Darkness. What she she wrote about the rehearsal process brought me back to that circle of magic that I was once a part of.
“Sitting in on a rehearsal is a strange experience for the author of the book the play is based on. Words you heard in your mind’s ear forty years ago in a small attic room in the silence of the night are suddenly said aloud by living voices in a bright-lit, chaotic studio. People you thought you’d made up, invented, imagined are there, not imaginary at all — solid, living, breathing. And they speak to each other. Not to you. Not any more.”