Sunday, April 5, 2009

Day Eighty-Four: A good weekend for the Wannabe Wordslinger

Eighty-four is a number that has a special place in my heart. It brings back fond memories of the old, higher-scoring four-division NHL, when the season was eighty-four games as opposed to eighty-two.

Moving on, thanks to Tarvis for filling in yesterday. I like guest bloggers. Stay tuned, you never know who you'll find on here next time!!

This weekend was great for my confidence as a playwright, which had taken a bit of a hit lately for no good reason. A recap of the confidence-boosting events of the past 48 hours:

Saturday morning: a script reading for my direct supervisor, the director of the touring department at the Players. We read Teammates, a drug awareness script I wrote not quite a month ago. It went really well! Got some very good feedback that should result in some simple rewriting, and I think there's a good chance we'll take Teammates on the road for the 2009-10 school year. It's always fun to hear your words read by REAL ACTORS. I mean reading plays to yourself is great and all, but let's face it, theatre is written to be heard and seen, not to be read silently. I love readings, and this one was all kinds of constructive fun. But the encouragement was over because....

Saturday evening: Hanging out with Tarvis. Every writer needs a friend like Tarvis (I am actually quite blessed to have a small handful of this sort of friend): somebody who always likes to hear what you're working on and is excited about the different projects you've got coming up. In short, every artist could use a fan club ;-) Tarvis and I never get together without at least discussing one of the thing I've been turning over in my head lately, and he always manages to look genuinely interested. I don't know if he realizes how great an encouragement that is to me, but since he reads this blog almost religiously I suppose he does now. So, thanks for that, Lil Buddy. Though the really exciting stuff was still to come...

Saturday, late night: I checked the mail walking from the front gate to my apartment and found a nice big folder from Eldridge Plays, the company I know is publishing my first script, and adaptation of Why the Bells Chimed, this summer. I take the envelope and hurry home with it before tearing in. Inside there is a letter and a bound copy of Why the Bells Chimed with my name on the front cover. The cover art isn't extravagant, but for me, it's beautiful. I've got to give the script a good thorough once-over and give them the final okay, and then I'm in the July 2009 catalog and on the web site. Admittedly, this is not the greatest script I've written, and of the ones that have been produced it's probably the weakest, but it's a great story and a nice little Christmas play, easily producible, and our audiences enjoyed it when we toured it a couple of Christmases ago. Holding that script in my hand is also a nice little reminder of the afternoon my boss (not the boss from two paragraphs ago, the BIG boss) caught a rehearsal and gave me such flattering compliments as "I'm grateful that you've tried, but I think you've bitten off more than you could handle," and, "What I just saw wasn't a play. There was no play there," and, "I don't think audiences will accept this." Ah, good times :-) But oh, there's more...

All of the above items were more or less planned, or at least not unexpected. I knew the reading was coming, hanging out with Tarvis is always good, and while the script wasn't entirely expected, it wasn't exactly a new development, either. This afternoon's episode, though, is a different story.

Back story: a couple years ago, I wrote a short play for Kim as a Christmas present. She liked it, I wanted to rewrite it, but never really got to it until about a month ago. (Remember Will 3, Deadlines 0?) I wrote the script, we held a reading of this (and Teammates) a couple of days later, and I made some notes about a few rewrites I wanted to make. Lovely.

The next day at work, I find a contest for new plays being held by a small company in Lubbock, Texas. They're looking for both children's and adult plays from Texas playwrights, and I think, "Heck, why not? The worst thing that can happen is that they can say no." And I fully expected them to, because I hadn't made any of my brilliant rewrites or edits yet (and didn't have time to before the next day's deadline), and because it's got some not-so-subtle Christian language dancing throughout the dialogue, and it just didn't seem like a script that would get chosen from a field of 16 or 18 others for a public reading at a new plays festival.

Until, that is, this afternoon.

Pulling off the upset win of the weekend, it's The Girl Who Wore Golden Clothes with its surprise acceptance in the Cordell Green New Plays Festival at the C.A.T.S. Playhouse in Lubbock on May 9th. Now I have to email back and ask if they will at least allow me to make those editorial changes I had been hoping to make before letting anyone else see the script!

Six winning plays were selected and will have public readings with CATS actors and directors, and I understand they plan to choose one for production the following season. Again, I don't have terribly high expectations to be that one play, but you never know. We got this far ;-) Plus, it's a good credit to have when marketing the play to other theatre companies for possible production.

And there was a bit of icing on the cake, too, though I can't write it hear because, well, you never know who could be reading. Ask me in person, though, and I'll let you know. It's really, really good icing ;-)