My staged reading is now seven days away. It all came up on me so fast. I have to send in a final “reading draft” to the theater by Wednesday, and then next Friday night I’ll be sitting in the back of the audience trying not to have a meltdown as my play is read aloud in front of people other than my classmates for the very first time.
I got my director a few days ago! I’m paired up with Ben Evett, who is the founding artistic director of the Actors’ Shakespeare Project in Boston. I’m really excited to work with him. And my reading is on Shakespeare’s birthday too, so it’s fitting in that sense (yes, I’m a nerd who knows when Shakespeare’s birthday is). I sent the director my script last night, but I still need to make revisions. Yesterday was my final workshop of the piece, and I brought in the ending and an earlier scene that I had reworked to remove a blackout between it and the previous scene. The workshop was so helpful. My professor let the actors improvise in one of the new parts I’d added, asking them to make it sound more like sibling teasing rather than a regular conversation, and it was great. I hadn’t wanted the scene to sound too sentimental, and they gave me some great ideas for tweaking it. I also feel like I know now what needs to happen to the ending. I had been so lost, and I finally was able to see all the signs in the rest of the script pointing me to one place where the main character needs to go. Now I just need to write that part. Easier said than done, yes, but at least I feel like I have a roadmap of sorts now.
I also got a really exciting email earlier this week. The arts director for the Somerville News (one of our local papers) wants to interview me about my play and my reading because of the connections it has to the city (it takes place in Somerville, it’s about a Somerville family, and Somerville is also where I grew up). I’m going to meet with him on Saturday morning. I’m nervous. But it would be awesome if the interview brings in a few more people to my reading.
All of this news doesn’t even begin to illustrate how busy this week was. Last weekend was spent putting together my presentation about Samuel Beckett for Tuesday’s class and working on revisions to my play alongside it. I couldn’t sleep well Monday night, and I feel like I froze up at the start of my presentation on Tuesday and had a few moments of panic before I settled into it. The presentation led to a good class discussion though. One thing about Beckett is that he was highly protective of his work, so his estate won’t allow his plays to be produced if they deviate too much from the stage directions as they are written (if a director wants to modernize the setting, for example). This led to a spirited discussion about the collaborative nature of theater and whether it is right or wrong to exert so much control over the script.
I was also beyond busy at work this week. Our upcoming issue of the journal I work on was due at the printer on Thursday (which was also the day of my workshop, so my revisions had to be done by then too). Somehow I managed to copyedit like crazy during the day and still have the energy to work on my play at night after work. I have another rough week ahead of me leading up to Friday’s reading, and then the entire week following Friday will be busy because I’ll be going to the theater every night to cheer on my classmates as their readings go up. I’ll try to blog again before my reading if I can manage coherent thoughts amid the flurry of nerves.