Sunday, February 27, 2011

World Premieres!

This weekend was The Weekend- the weekend that two of my short plays premiered in the QMUL Theatre Company's New Writers' Festival!

It was definitely an experience. I had hoped to attend a rehearsal or two of each to see how things were going, but I didn't end up doing so, for various reasons, which means that I was surprised on Friday night and tonight!

First up was Funeral Circus (I'm sorry that I'm making you follow a link to see the videos- Blogger won't let me display videos. I promise it's just YouTube.) This is a piece inspired by a dinner I went to with my friend Kara, her mother, and her grandmother. It was a lot of fun and when I went to a day-long playwrighting workshop and we were given forty-five minutes to write a scene, that dinner popped into my head and I wrote this scene. It's hardly been edited at all since its first draft, and I was really happy with how it was received and how it was presented. The director added a ton of stuff, all of which I loved. In the original script, the waiter is only in the scene for about three seconds to give the women their desserts, but I thought it was pretty cool to have three waiters onstage the entire time making comments on the action onstage.
Tonight's piece was Funeral Sketch. I promise, I don't only write about funerals. I almost didn't get to see this one- though I had e-mailed them days ago, they forgot to put my name on the reserve list and so told me I would only get a seat if people didn't show up. I looked around crowded lobby and knew I wasn't going to get in- I wasn't even the first on the reserve list! I tried to think of a backup plan and finally decided to ask a girl from my RT class to film for me- I HAD to film it so I could get the reactions of the audience and edit the piece accordingly. Thankfully, fourteen people (which is kind of a lot) didn't show up, so they were filled by people like me, desperately waiting for a ticket.
This piece, though also comedy, is very different- no family dynamics here. It also took me months to write, which is why the audience reaction was a little disappointing... or lack therefore. I'm not sure whether they didn't like the piece or if they were just a quieter audience, as it was a different crowd of people than Friday night. Either way, I saw a lot of places where I needed to do some tweaking. The actors' delivery of lines were sometimes much different than I expected, and there were a few lines that were changed. I loved the projected pictures on the back wall, and even though it took me a few minutes to get that, though the actors are seated far away from each other, they're actually sitting together, I really liked that in the end. And I thought the actors were especially great during the eulogy part of the scene- they made me laugh and I've been living with this script for about a year.
Overall, it was a good experience. It's pretty awesome to have people laugh during a scene and know that you wrote it. And I'm not going to lie- I was extremely nervous before each piece, the same kind of nerves I get when I'm about to open a show. I was shaking and I couldn't sit still, wondering how things were going to go. It was also a very different theatrical experience than I've ever had before. It's the first time I've done something in theatre where not a single person links me with the piece. I was completely anonymous- yes, my name was on the poster and in the program (which thrilled me to bits), but no one here really know who I am. This is something I've never experienced; acting is a pretty public thing, so for better or worse, people know it's you up there and you get feedback of all sorts, Also, while I sat there all nervous... I sat there alone instead of being surrounded by my fellow, just-as-nervous actors. This is is why it was a bit weird to walk out of the theatre... and just leave. And while I'm going to sound like a horrible person, I wasn't a huge fan of the anonymity. I like getting credit for my work. Maybe I'm just immature, and since I do want to be a playwright, I suppose I'll have to get used to this. But it is something very different.

Anyway, I feel extremely honored to have been included in this festival- most of the material in it was truly great. Both of the other pieces tonight really blew me away with both their writing and their presentation. I'm glad to have been a part of it and that my work was seen by real, responsive audiences. There is at least one great thing about the fact that people didn't know who I was- when I overheard that someone liked what they saw, I knew they meant it :)


Anonymous said...

You should have a GREAT big smile on your face.
Love YA

GreenePony said...

YAY MP1! I totally see your writing style in both- more so the circus one but still in the sketch. I think the reason there was less vocal reaction is because there were more of a huge grin moments than loud laughs. The two main characters remind me of people from home but I can't place them- intentional?

P.S. For future edits- there were multiple conventions :)
P.P.S. I LOVE how she said "Charade"

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