Working with a Director

Just when I think I’m getting somewhere.

I had never thought of it before. I’ve worked as a Director. I’ve worked as an actor with a Director, but as a playwright, it’s been limited to the extent that I knew what I was supposed to do.  That being said, I’ve had a run through almost every job in theater and was always willing to learn. I’ve had opportunities to watch great work being created. Trying to pay attention to what was being asked and what the response was.  But this time, as I worked with the director as the playwright, I felt invigorated, ready for re-writes.

Do you ever have a moment when your brain is just working and working and you think “I should probably write this down”, but it’s 4 am and you don’t want to get out of bed, so you think I’ll remember later. Then you fall back asleep and when you wake up hours later you have completely forgotten about this moment and wonder if it was all a dream because it was effin brilliant and no one will know. 

My subconscious was working overtime because I was considering a text I received from my director the night before which messed up my thought process and made me rethink and almost rewrite the entire play. (I haven’t yet because I only have a few days before my draft is due and making the change would be a whole new play). So my question is, when do you know to completely scrap and make substantial changes? 

My mind returned to the previous day when I met with the director of my workshop reading, I talked about the play. More like babble, because I didn’t really know what to say. I just started talking. This was the first time I had an opportunity to talk about what I’ve been working on for the past 6 months with someone who’d read the play and I really didn’t know where to start.  He asked questions of me and I tried my best to answer in the moment. I explained thought processes behind the scenes and characters without being prompted, I just wanted to make sure I was being understood. That and I just had to say it out loud. To hear my thoughts aloud instead of just mere mumblings to myself in my head. Was I trying to convince my director, or was I simply telling him facts? By the time our meeting was over I was confident to make minor changes to address comments and questions from my cohort. 

Then, as I sat with my laptop, ready to open Final Draft, my phone dings. 

It’s my director. 

The text reads “What are the stakes?” 

This all happened days ago.

Great question.

Now what? 

Happy writing! Jennifer

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