I'm sorry I haven't written for a while. February was a really tough time for me, both because of illness (boy, did the flu knock me for a loop, and I'm just now getting back to feeling normal) and play rejections (several), and then March started out like a lion, not a lamb, so that didn't help, either. On the writing front, I have nothing happy to report, unfortunately. I have received several rejections over the past month, and not ONE acceptance. :-( The fact that the blizzard snowed out the last day of Theatre One's Festival sure as hell didn't help. It seemed so bloody unfair at the time--what were the chances?--and it still does. Then I got the reviews from my three-minute play, "My Six-Thirty," and they weren't particularly positive, though I wasn't there to see the staging, so I can't worry too much about them, and it's not a project I intend to spend any more time on (Doug at Poco Locos thinks it would make a better film than play, so he might film it this summer, and that would be amazing). The hardest blow, I think, was yesterday, when Heartland Theatre Company rejected my 20-year play, "Not A Competition," about a high school reunion. I had high hopes for this play, and it's not getting any interest whatsoever. I am bringing it to my playwrighting group this Wednesday, b/c I'm starting to think that it just doesn't work in its present form, and it really needs to get a reading for me to get feedback.
Meanwhile, my friend D. and two playwright binge friends were finalists for Heartland, and that just knocked me out. What it said to me was that people I know, really know, DO get their plays accepted (I was part of D's developmental process for this piece), so I can't keep saying that it's just random and bad luck and the like that causes my plays to keep being rejected. I mean, it is, but it's also that I don't have plays that theatres are interested in! That's just a fact. Besides Theatre One, NO ONE has accepted anything of mine for nearly a year! That's not bad luck, kids, that's bad writing. Or something. So what I'm going to do is start a new play, and really delve into it, see if I can come up with something innovative or fun, or at least different. Meanwhile, I will continue submitting to festivals/theatres that do not require a fee (NO MORE FEES; not worth it), and will intermittenly revise existing work, but will move on and upward. What I fear, really fear, is that friends will get into both the Boston Theatre Marathon (should hear soon) and the Dragonflly Festival (ditto), both local festivals, and I will not. And that will...well, I hate to say crush me, but it will. It really will. I am trying to steer myself for that very real possibility, but how can I, honestly?
Yesterday, after the Heartland rejection, I cried, and then I did a very hard workout at the gym, which helped immensely. (Sleep is also a great friend at these times, and thanks to my new Sealy mattress, I can get some without sinking into the thing!) But I am just so sad about all the rejection, sad and frustrated, and there's not much I can do about it. I can stop writing, which doesn't seem like a good plan, or stop submitting, which means I have NO chance of being accepted anywhere, or I can just carry on and hope that I catch on somewhere. I guess I don't have plays that jump out at people, so they need to find a select audience. Or something. Who knows? It's starting to feel very much as it did in graduate school, when my co-horts had their short stories accepted by magazines and journals and I did not (not even one got taken!). I began to think that I could write reasonably well but didn't have anything to say, or wasn't ready to say anything particularly interesting. I don't exactly feel that's the case anymore, but I do feel as if I'm not getting my messages across well enough. Is it simple tweaking? I don't know. Maybe. Maybe not. Hard to say. D. got a play taken that was so different than her normal work (it's a very strong play, so I'm really happy for her), and I think, well, that certainly didn't hurt her getting in. I don't have any plays that jump out, that scream, Wow, look at me, I'm different and worthy of being produced! I thought maybe that "The Satchel" would be that way, but now I'm not so sure (plus, according to a playwrighting friend, it is still missing that "kick," and I don't know how to find that kick, even after a number of revisions).
I did audition for two plays during the past two weeks. One said no without a call back, which was unfortunate (for me, not them ;-)). I am certain that was in part b/c I had a lousy audition; I tried to do my "Chair" monologue, which I really like, but couldn't get it down. So I went to another audition on Thursday night, and used an older monologue, "The Boyfriend," which went over very well. :-) But then I had a cold read, and that didn't go so well; I could just tell, and it was in part b/c the side I wanted to read from wasn't the one I did read from, and the one I read from was pretty blah for my character. I also was just off, and that happens. In addition, the part calls for a 50-year-old woman (though they were calling for 35-45 year olds; don't ask me why), and I can't play 50. I can play 35-40 but not 50 (nor do I want to!), so that's out. Hesitantly, I also requested a slot for the Dragonfly Festival's auditions yesterday via email. I have not been cast the past two years, but I am going to try Chair (again!), b/c I know it's a piece that can work if I can just remember the lines (Why I can't is beyond me; it's just over a page of writing, and I wrote it, dammit! Why the block?). But I do feel as if it can be a successful piece, so I'd like to try it and see.
Now, if I get rejected by Dragonfly, both for the five pieces I submitted and for the audition, I'll be inconsolable, so I just can't *go* there at the moment. I cannot. I do not expect to get into the Boston Theatre Marathon, especially b/c one of the pieces I submitted has since been revised and the other was just rejected by Heartland (and it was written for that festival), but the Dragonfly; well, that's something entirely different. They, naturally, got 224 (!) submissions, up from 80 last year (yes, I was also rejected last year, with one piece), so the odds are slim, but I know the producer a little bit now, so maybe something I wrote will strike a chord. I don't know anymore. I feel very disheartened, and that's why I need to write a new piece and forget about the old ones, though I'll continue to submit. Also, Braden at AYTB still wants me to write a full-length for him, whicn feels great. I just need to get down to it and have time to focus (I will perhaps take a couple of days off in April to do some writing). Another thing I should mention is that no one has agreed to direct my 25-minute play "Uncharted Territory" for the Arlington Players' "5" Festival in June. I know it's a tough play to do, but can't someone just say yes already? And by someone, I mean someone with some experience, b/c, as I say, it's not an easy piece to direct. D. has two people on board (hers is 10 minutes, which is easier), and every other play has interest, except mine. That's just a fact. Fortunately, Rich, the producer, has agreed to direct it if necessary, but I know he would prefer not to, so I don't want him to do it under duress. But I can't do it (don't have the experience and want someone with objectivity to direct it), so that might be the way we need to go. Otherwise, it's starting to take form, which is exciting, but I need a director, and I won't feel better until we find someone.
I have real moments of joy in theatre, and they are usually followed by setback and depression. For example, I am serving on a student's Thesis panel, and she is working on a performing arts school/community theatre project on a site in Amesbury, MA. I went to my first review (I missed the initial one b/c of the flu) on Wednesday night, and apparently I contributed a great deal, was thanked profusely, and asked if I could make the next one. That made me feel terrific. Then a day and a half later, I get rejected by Heartland. So I can't get a consistent high going, and there are so many failures. It's just so discouraging. I need an acceptance, and I need it really soon, or I might just have to put the projects aside for a while. The problem is that I have NOTHING else to keep me busy or engaged. I am on a tight budget, especially this month, so I can't go out and spend money on movies, clothing, or trips. I saw the new doctor two times this week, and was told that I needed to get off caffeine (I am going to continue drinking my Sobe Power Beverages, b/c life without Sobe is too hard to contemplate), but that means no more Venti black iced teas from Starbucks, and that makes me sad (though I've known for a while that I had to cut that down, due to the cost, as well as the caffeine and general addiction). I am trying to watch my weight (right now, I'm watching it go up!), and that means no bingeing (though I refuse to cut out all snacks now, b/c I am not in a place where I can). I still have no boyfriend prospects, work is busy and rather pressured, and so really, what is there for me right now? Free plays that I can see with A. and D. and others, or ushering, movies that I rent, and my writing, and that is really it. That's all there is. And if I take away theatre, there's pretty much nothing at all, so I can't. But the pain is so great, and sometimes I don't think I'm strong enough to withstand the rejections. I just don't.