I have been trying all week to explain my first Fringe experience, but the words are jumbled and come out in a string of disjointed sentences. Which, truth be told, is how this whole experience has been making me feel.
My first show was a preview on Sunday. I have been fighting with the words that make up my play. As I try to memorize them for my show I wonder why the heck I wrote these things and why I want to share them with the world. As I sit on the stage, in an empty theater, running through my show. Pencil in hand, I cross out sections of text that will be cut next time. Right now my brain is settled in to the story, however repetitive the text is.
I try to distract myself by writing other things, poems, writing challenges on hitRecord, and random postings about how to use social media. My brain seems to be distracted for a bit. Shhhh! Don’t tell it I’m blogging here.
My play has been workshopped on a few occasions and I’ve sat and read it to remind myself of the story, but it wasn’t until I had to perform it off book that I could see the (w)holes. For as long as I have written and re-written the same circumstances with different characters and locations, it was always the same story. After I had resigned myself to finally putting it to bed and completing it, I pulled together stories that would best lead to a completed play. Workshopping it allowed me read the play for an audience, solicit feedback, see what was working and wasn’t. I sat in the back of the room listening to the words I had thought were brilliant when someone else was reading them. I explained to the dramaturg, director and actor about my thought process. We spent a day with the timeline of the main character. Me answering questions about the backstory of the story. At the time not understanding why they were asking. It was only later after I had a quiet moment that I could reflect upon their questions and why they mattered. My story was missing the tiny details that gave color to the who and why. The moments I took for granted as just knowing they were there, and when I read the lines I could see them. I’m reminded about seeing the forest through the trees and I never understood the meaning of it. Being in the thick of the action, but knowing what’s going on.
But now as I reviewed the lines and tried to commit them to memory, these tiny details are getting in my way and tying my tongue. Alliteration and repetition fill my story and at times as I try to say the lines, I lose the poetry in an effort to just say the lines. I can see the trees.
That’s where I’m at now. I just have to be the performer and forget the writer. As much as I have been trained to honor the writer’s words, it’s time to trust that I know what I’m saying and just do.
I’ve taken so many different writing classes, but each instructor has said “go see solo shows”! Luckily Fringe is filled with them and each offers me more insight into the writing process.
Now go out there and see some shows!