Thursday, April 13, 2006

I did a silly, silly thing...

A man and woman are seated at a table. The woman is just eating the last few bites of her dinner, the man is already finished – his plate is pushed aside and he has a clipboard leaning against the edge of the table. He is studying the pages on the clipboard intently, a pen in his hand.

GEOFF: I’m taking the pots.

SHARON: I want those.

GEOFF: They were a gift from my mother.

SHARON: You never cook.

GEOFF: Yes, but they were a gift. From my mother. Who’s now dead.

SHARON: Great, you want to honour your mother’s memory by letting the pots she bought us as a wedding gift collect dust?

GEOFF: You never even liked my mother.

SHARON: I like the pots, though. They’re nice.

GEOFF: This isn’t up for debate. You’re not having the pots my mother bought us. I’ll buy you another set.


So, against my better judgement, I submitted an original play as a "workshop" production to run during Stampede.

Ironically, this had been a plan of mine from the start, though my plan was to pitch an entirely different, full-length play. Getting that one written didn't pan out, sadly.

I considered a variety of other play projects that I could tackle instead, as the deadline to propose something for summer got closer and closer, never once thinking about this particular project. It had completely slipped my mind until a friend reminded me of it.

I loaded the 1/3 complete document up about a week ago, read through it, and found that the creative wheels were running again. So I started working.

And working.

And working.

And before I knew it, the silly thing was almost finished.

It's currently called "Dinner and Drinks" and the selection above comes from the opening of scene two -- of four scenes in total. It's one act, somewhere between 30 and 45 minutes depending, I guess, on how it's directed.

The tricky thing is this: I don't want to direct it. And, while I have approached sdomeone about the directing job, I don't currently have a director.

I'd be more than happy to act as a "mentor" to a first time director, because I'll be at every one of the rehearsals anyway, but I want to be there as a writer first and formost. The point of a "workshop" production is to actually get the words on stage, to get real people delivering them, so the writer can find out what works adn what doesn't, find the bits that are good and cut out or change the bits that are bad, find the problems with facing and get them repaired.

Text on a page is one thing. Text out of a person's mouth is something else entirely.

I'm excited about this. I'm also petrified. And, strangely enough, I'm not sure which terrifies me more -- the idea of having the proposal rejected, or the idea of having the proposal accepted, and dealing with the fact that at some point in the near future, my own words will be on stage, and there will be at least some people in the audience hearing them, reacting to them.

But then, I guess, it's all about taking chances, isn't it? It's all about breaking out of the safe zone. Otherwise you become a zombie.

I know you’ve been hurt in the past; we both have. I know a part of you has given up on love; a part of me has too. I know you just want to stay where it’s safe, where there’s no danger, where there’s no chance of getting hurt; I know all those things because I feel them too. But where it’s safe, there’s no life. There’s no passion. There’s no fire. If you stay where it’s safe, you stop being alive, and you start to just kind of exist. You eat food without tasting it. You drink wine without savouring it. You walk through life like a zombie.

From the fourth scene (I guess I'm not that terrified of my own words if I'm quoting myself this relentlessly -- gee, Todd, egomaniacal much?)

It's a funny play, in parts, or so I hope. But it's also awfully vulgar. I'm not sure how much of the vulgarities can be cleaned up in a polish -- I know I can sometimes get off on a particularly nasty mind-set and overdo the nasty words, and that might have been the case here. I won't know until I sit down with the script and red pen.

But the plan -- to my knowledge -- is to stage it for three days at Stampede, and I figure that even an amazingly vulgar play should be able to attract a decent crowd for three days, if it's got a local author attached to it. I'm sure there'd be more than just a few people interested in seeing what sort of silliness local columnist Todd Sullivan has come with for a play.

Oh man, they'll be surprised.

I'm not sure how long it'll take before I know whether "Dinner and Drinks" is a go for Stampede, but I'm sure once I know, this spot right here will be the location of the official announcement.

No comments: