Sunday, October 5, 2008

Words on a Page, Words on a Stage

So as I mentioned in an earlier post, I'm stage-managing Song of Extinction by E.M. Lewis at [Inside] the Ford during November and December (teach a bitch to embed links, and watch out!), and we had our first (almost) all-cast rehearsal yesterday. We're at the stage of rehearsals where the actors aren't off-book yet (meaning they still have their scripts in hand, for the most part), so rather than having my face buried in my script taking line notes (noting which lines the actors mess up so I can tell them what words or lines they omitted or changed), I got to just sit back and watch the rehearsal. I was sitting between the director and the playwright, as the latter took notes and the former tweaked the actors' motivations and gave them ideas for how to approach the scenes. It was very fact, cool is sort of an understatement. It was...I don't know, magical? Stunning? None of these words seem right.

I took a playwriting class a couple of years ago, with a teacher/writer that I really respect and admire, Lee Wochner. (In fact, Song of Extinction came out of Lee's workshop.) I was trying to write a play (obviously) but I think it was hitting a little too close to home as far as subject matter, and I sort of gave up. I wound up writing a short little 10-minute play that was produced as part of Moving Arts' awesome Car Plays show, and abandoned hope of writing anything full-length. It was great that I created something that got produced, but I've always been a little bit angry at myself for giving up so easily on the harder task, and the one that would require more of myself - more soul-searching, more struggle, more stamina, but ultimately more reward.

Every time I see or read a piece of theater that moves me, I have a slight twinge of...something (not doing so well with the whole "finding the right word" thing today). It's not exactly regret, because let's face it, I'm only 27 and it's not like I don't have time to write a play in my future. Cigarette smoking notwithstanding, I plan on being around for quite a few more decades. But the thought of it is so overwhelming that I don't even know where to start. There's a lot of fear there - that if I actually really buckle down and try, I'll realize that I'm not a writer. That I don't have it in me. And the thought of that happening is really scary. So what's scarier? The possibility that I'll fail, or the possibility that I'll go another 5, 10, 20 years without really trying? It seems like an obvious answer, but tell that to the blinking cursor that stares at me from Microsoft Word every time I do try.

1 comment:

Bianca (as in Jagger) said...

Preaching. To. The Choir. Sistah.

Sometimes I wonder if Shakespeare had these problems...