Tag Archives: Sarah Ruhl

Same Shoe, Different Foot

I’ve been reading a lot of plays lately – some current, most not – and I’m starting to see double, hate Neil Simon, and long for a new reading list…

You see, I’m part of the play selection committee at our community theater, and we’ve had a number of plays submitted for consideration in the 2012-13 season.  It’s an interesting position to be in, as the community I’m currently a part of isn’t likely to take to something like Bruce Norris’ The Pain and the Itch (although I love it), Sarah Ruhl’s Eurydice (does it get more visually poetic than that?) or even Yasmina Reza’s God of Carnage (though it is under consideration with a bevy of voiced hesitancies – hesitancies even though it won the Olivier and Tony and makes me pee my pants with writerly joy!  Ack!)

So instead I’m re-reading The Rainmaker, A Shayna Maidel, and meeting Harvey and other plays I might not normally pick up (like Don’t Dress for Dinner, which is pee-your-pants funny!) And each of these plays, while interesting or moving in their own right, have been pretty outside my “cup of tea” as a reader, and as a writer…

So I have to step out of the “What does Tiffany like” comfort zone and into the “What would this community like” (not-as-comfortable) zone.  It’s a super strange position to occupy, but I’ve found that (while frustrating at times) being forced to shift one’s artistic POV like this can be enlightening, educational, and overall good for the writer’s soul…

Because it forces you to thing commercially.

It forces you to think about the community you’re living in/hoping to work in.

It forces you to think like anything but a writer.

Which then makes you turn around and look at your own work with a clearer eye to what a theatre might need/want vs. what your little muse thinks is pretty.

When’s the last time you can say you looked at your own work like that?  Don’t we usually sit down with some characters/a story idea/whatever form your genesis usually tends to be, and a heart full of blood-pumping enthusiasm with very little thought of what a theatre needs?

I’d like to think that all the producing and committee-sitting I’ve done this past year is going to help me ask that question next time the story romance hits me…  not so I can bury my idea in the “Nobody gives a shit” box (maybe I’ll write about that tomorrow) but so that as I cook and scheme and start to work, I can think more realistically about how to develop my idea to be produceable…

After all, I’m not writing for my drawer, am I?