The reading of my newest play, Directive 47, at New Rep is in less than two weeks. I have no idea how it came up on me so quickly. I still have SO. MUCH. REVISING. to do between now and June 9, when the reading begins at 2pm.
This is the play I blogged about months ago, the one inspired by the true story of a nun who was excommunicated for allowing an abortion to be performed at the Catholic hospital she worked at. It’s come a long way since I last mentioned it in the blog, but it’s still nowhere near where I’d like it to be this close to a reading going up.
It took me till a few weeks ago, during a meeting with my writing group, to realize that I was basically writing another family play (is that all I know how to write?). That what felt lacking to me, and why I kept walking away from table reads with the thought of “this play is to talky,” was that the characters are basically a little family, but they’re not really acting like one right now. The plot has been there, but the characters have been sort of too bogged down by it instead of caught up with each other. Which is the exact total opposite of how The Prayer Bargain developed. In that play, the characters were there and present almost from the very beginning, but the plot sort of stumbled its way into existence. It’s weird how writing works sometimes.
But right now I should be working on my latest revision instead of blogging about how I should be working on it. Last week, I met with both Ben Evett, my reading director, and Bridget O’Leary, the head of our New Voices @ New Rep program, and I feel good about the changes that need to be made. I just need to sit down and make them. New draft, coming soon!
I’ve been so busy lately. It’s like August decided to blow up and go crazy. Last week I saw the opening night of John Shea’s Junkie at the Boston Playwrights’ Theatre. It was really good–you should all go check it out while it’s still up. It’s a one-man show about a heroin addict’s stay in a 30-day rehab facility. The actor is amazing, and the script is both funny and heartbreaking. Go see it.
I also grabbed a subscription to the Actors’ Shakespeare Project’s upcoming season through an awesome deal on LivingSocial. One of my goals this year is to see more theatre. And to do so I need to take advantage of discounts and special events whenever they pop up so that I can afford to see shows more often. One thing I missed that I was supposed to see on Monday was a reading of my friend Emily Kaye Lazzaro’s play Grief and Surfing at Oberon. I saw a reading of an earlier draft last year when we had our MFA thesis readings, and I was looking forward to seeing it again and seeing how it had developed. I sadly had one of the worst migraines I’d had in awhile and just could not drag myself out of the house.
Other work my friends have coming up soon: those in the San Francisco Bay area should check out Genevieve Jessee’s one-woman show Girl in, but Not of, the ‘Hood at the SF Fringe Festival the week of Septmeber 10. She wrote and stars in it, and I wish I could be there. Walt McGough’s spy play The Farm will be up at the Boston Playwrights’ Theatre beginning September 29. It’s another play I first saw in development and then presented at our MFA thesis readings, and it’s equally as awesome as Grief and Surfing but in a totally different way. (That’s why I loved my class so much, by the way… we all had such a wide array of styles, and I feel like I got to learn something new from everyone.) The BPT’s second show, beginning October 27, is The River Was Whiskey by Will Fancher. I also saw this as a reading last year, and I can highly recommend it. It’s full of Southern Gothic awesomeness, and I can’t wait to see how it’s developed since the reading. And finally, starting November 10, Deirdre Girard’s play The Christina Experiment will be up at the Firehouse Center for the Performing Arts in Newburyport. They were the company that produced my ten-minute play for the Boston Theatre Marathon, yay! Christina is another play I saw through its development stages and in a reading during our MFA thesis week. Very much looking forward to its premiere.
My friends are up to lots of awesomeness lately. Where, you may ask, is my awesomeness? yeah. I need to do a LOT of submitting of current work and a lot more generating of new work. I’m aiming to try to do two writing groups this fall, which should help with the “generating new work” part. This time last year was more focused on finishing school, and I did more with ten-minute plays. I need to get out there and just send Prayer Bargain out to anyone who will look at a copy. 😛 And I have a few ideas for new full-lengths, ranging from a crazy comics play to a serious play about an excommunicated nun. And maybe another family play. Oh yes.
Since my previous entry was kind of depressing, I’ve been wanting to write a more upbeat post for awhile now. I’ve been thinking a lot recently about where I was just a year ago and how much that has changed. I was trying to deal with a lot of stuff that had happened pre-grad school, and last year in general had been sort of up-and-down emotionally. But I think when the playwriting workshop portion of my MFA program ended, I sort of felt this void and started to feel really sad all the time again. The structure that the workshop classes had given me was sort of pulled out from under me, and I had no idea how to handle it. I was in summer classes, but it wasn’t the same.
I hit a real emotional low around mid- to late-June last year, and my playwriting class’s planned weekend getaway at our classmate’s summer lake house was coming up at the end of the month. My outlook tanked so much in the week leading up to it that I almost didn’t go. I even went so far as to officially cancel only to be talked back into it by my awesome classmates. When I look back, I always mark that weekend as the turning point in getting my life back in order. There was great people, great food, a lake, a rope swing, a hot tub, a trampoline, and lots of wine, among other things. And also a hammock. I feel like that weekend was when I finally got myself out of mere survival mode and into moving-forward mode.
One of the biggest changes was that over the July 4 weekend, I decided to follow in the footsteps of one of my friends and put up a profile on Match. 😛 It was the first time that the thought of potentially letting someone get close to me didn’t make me feel sick. Within a week of my profile being up, this super-awesome guy named Allan emailed me, and we met up in person on July 14. Now he’s sitting right next to me on the couch in the apartment that we share. And my two kitties are running around with his chubby cat and causing trouble. It’s definitely been a really good year.
I also, because I’ve been amazingly lucky this year, had a few steps forward with my writing. I completed my degree in January, so I now have an MFA to my name that I did not have a year ago. And I got an award-of-sorts by making the semifinals of the Kennedy Center’s Ten-Minute Play award (does it count as an award if you don’t actually make the finals? haha). A group of BU alums started up a workshop group so we could continue to hear actors read our work and get feedback from each other. AND I had my first-ever production just a few weeks ago. This time last year, I was just a nervous girl who had just finished her playwriting classes and was worried that without that structure I’d never be able to see my work developed again.
This year has been awesome. It’s something I can look back on when rejections seem to be pouring in endlessly as encouragement to keep going. My playwriting classmates and I have recently started planning the second-annual weekend at the lake. I definitely won’t be almost backing out of this one.