from Cynthia Wands
In two weeks, I’ll be in another place. I’ll be sitting at a table, listening to the read through for the first production of my play, THE LOST YEARS.
The Contra Costa Civic Theatre is producing a premier of this work – after I’ve stamped through different venues with three staged readings, two workshops and a couple of years of rewrites, it’s really happening.
In one of those mirror like twists of fate, the director is a friend of mine from many years ago. Last year year she directed a staged reading of the play for her theater’s new works project. I saw how respectful she was of the actors during the process, and how she was able to guide nuance and intelligence into lines that didn’t quite look that way when I wrote them.
After the read through, I had to go home and get back on the path of submitting the script to theaters, and workshops, and festivals. I did feel a bit like Mama Rose yelling: Sell it! Dammit, just sell it!
But in the best dramatic fashion, late one night last year I received a phone call. And it was my director, who let me know that a scheduled play for their 2017 season had become unavailable, and could they produce my play instead.
I think I yelled YES. I might have cried, I don’t know how professional that is. But I was tingling like I had been dusted with lightning. One of the best phone calls I have ever had.
And so, here we are months later, about to embark on this journey with the script.
The play is cast, the other theater artists have been assembled, and now we have the time to read it, and rehearse and learn from one another. I’ll get to watch a few of the rehearsals.
I’m so grateful to have this experience. I have no idea how it will sound/play/resolve itself. It is after all, a comedy. You know what they say about comedy. (Dying is easy, comedy is hard.)
I’m feeling such a need for important plays in the world right now; about our leadership and our climate and the future of women, that to have a comedy try and tinkle out the laughs, seems a bit off for the times.
But personally, I’m also feeling the effects of compassion fatigue/outrage and I could use a dose of knowing laughter.
So I’m getting a wish to come true. I’d love to hear any advice from other women playwrights about their first production: was there anything you wish had or had not done for your first show?