Thursday, December 20, 2007

Good news! :)

Well, finally, I have good news to report re: a play being accepted. My 10-minute play, ONE LAST FIGHT (the one about the father/son's conflict) has been accepted by Summer Golden for a production of favorite one-act plays at the North Park Vaudeville and Candy Shoppe in Dan Diego! The play was originally not accepted for their festival. However, it was b/c they couldn't find a director for it, and Summer and her co-hort Jeff Bushnell liked the play so much that they are including it in their three week production in February. Isn't that cool? I think so, anyway. :) I had hoped some theatre would like it (I know friends who do), and now it will be produced. I wish I could go to San Diego to watch it, but unlike Debbie, I do not have the funds to travel across the country to watch my plays being performed, although I would desperately like to! San Diego is one of those cities I have always wanted to see, but I just don't have the money to spend paying for a flight, hotel or b&b, and transportation. Sigh. But I feel excited nonetheless, and I submitted it to the Provincetown Spring Play Festival 2008, in hopes that they, too, will like it (they workshop the six plays chosen as well; I know, major long shot), and I wrote a brief cover letter that mentions the San Diego decision. I would love to meet Summer and Jeff, but I guess it's not too be. Alas.

As far as this week's class, we didn't talk TOO much about internal conflict (we are all getting sick of the term, including Ken, perhaps). The first play was too odd (I couldn't really get into it b/c, frankly, it was pretty boring) and the second play was interesting but very confusing (sort of in its own world), so we just tried to figure it out and not worry about other issues other than deciding if the world worked (not yet, we decided, not consistently so). Thus the class ended, with the exception of one final class on January 7, where we break into small groups and discuss our final drafts, with one more week to tweak before emailing Ken. Unfortunately, he also wants rewrites of other assignments. He talked about this being a complete portfolio. I understand that, but I would rather spend the time on the actual project, the 10-minute play, and not on work that was submitted at the time it was assigned. We had a 10-minute play then that I would rather not work on (I'll just tweak it a bit, I guess), and a monologue that has nothing to do with the actual play I submitted (so I guess a new monologue is in order; perhaps it will be interesting to write). And there is one final, short piece that I plan to look at and pretty much leave as is. And thus ends the class.

I won't go into my feelings about the class, except to say that I disagree with trying to understand plays at the time they are presented (I really need a week to understand it and formulate questions) and really would have liked comments, both from Ken and from the other classmates, the way a typical workshop works (I don't understand why Ken didn't conduct it this way). I hope he would consider changing it in the future, and I am not the only one who feels this way.

I also made a friend, Sarah, through the class (we would discuss relevant points in the cold after class, and decided that meeting for an actual discussion over a meal would be nice) and we will hopefully meet next week, since we both have time off (I am going to work half-days, around physical therapy). I hate to jinx myself, but my back is *starting* to feel a bit better, and I hope very much to return to working out on the elliptical machine (beginning at level 1, so no worries, for a half hour) after the first of the year (hurrah!!!!!!!!!!). I also plan to see Stephanie and the nieces on Sunday and Monday, when Laural and her kids come in (that will be short, but at least I will see them again in February, when I visit with my parents and Laural for a week). I need nice weather desperately, b/c it is snowing--AGAIN--and we are about at nine inches, give or take, with snow over ice over snow. Delightful. Joe the landlord has promised to have someone plow me out for Sunday, so at least I can get to Longmeadow. And then I can spend Christmas with the Karens and T.J., which will be fun. I am not planning New Year's Eve and Day yet; too far away.

And that's about it. Work is somewhat slow, which is nice, and will pick up soon. In the meantime, I drink caffeine to counteract the medicine for my back (very sedating), look forward to reading and watching the four (!) DVDs I have from NetFlix, and doing some work on my writing for class. And that's it for now. Yay, San Diego. Thank you for FINALLY taking one of my plays. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Friday, December 14, 2007

My play is finally critiqued

I need to go to work soon--Boston was clobbered by a snow storm, so we are starting an hour late, at 10am--but I thought I would check in with a brief update.

I was rather concerned that the class wouldn't like it, as I've mentioned before. I wasn't sure *I liked it, though I'd worked quite hard on it. The whole "internal conflict" situation was a bit of a problem, b/c both characters had the same one: They were lonely, pretending to be someone they were not (the djay was a cool hipster, but really a guy who took an overnight shift b/c he wanted to be a djay and this was the only gig available; the woman pretended to be a beautiful model with Victoria Secret, when in fact she worked overnights at CVS, to pay off her undergrad debts so she could go to grad school). So they connected via their phone calls and a contest, but their contact was based on false pretense. When they meet, they actually do over a song by James Morrison called "Undiscovered" (I love the song, but it's obscure, which is good, b/c only a realy music fan would know it). Anyway, that's the story, and I feared the reaction. The first play up was really surreal (well written, but not my kind of play), so I wondered how the class would like mine. And the response was...

VERY FAVORABLE! YAY! The class said it was well written, the characters were believable, and they could relate to them, and the dialogue was believable. I was SO relieved. They hoped for more (i.e, they wanted the characters, particularly the woman, to play the false characters even more strongly), and I understand that. They also, oddly to me, looked at the play as a "romantic comedy" and laughed a lot (that's not how I had written it, but hey, that's fine, if most people related to it!). One woman stormed out of the class, saying it was stereotypical of blacks being the only ones who like hip hop (in fact, I do, as do many of my friends, all of whom happen to be white or asian). The point is that this guy pretends to be black so he's cool, when he's a nerdy white guy (and maybe Jewish, like me, but I haven't decided if that's relevant yet). Anyway, Ken asked me to write up a two-paragraph synopsis, which is a good idea, and also noted that it was too long, at 18 minutes (!), which is fine, b/c as an overwriter, I have plenty to work with, and many passages did seem redundant.

So I survived the event unscathed, and though it will very hard to write at my desk (which I'm doing right now, using ice, and it's still very uncomfortable), but I will find a way. And now I'm off to work, expecting to get splashed like crazy. Meanwhile, it's 75 degrees and sunny in Florida, and I wish I were there with my sister and parents in the worst way. Florida (that's when I take my vacation) is such a long way away..............

Saturday, December 01, 2007

This week's report from writing class...

Well, not too much to report this week (shockingly), but in 10 days *I* go, so look out, all! :) I might write a dissertation, if I can get past the wreckage. Ever optmistic am I. Perhaps there is a play hidden within...

Anyway, we read two plays this past week. Let me just say how incredibly useful it is to have the plays in advance and have time to think about them rather than get them that evening and have to respond after one cold read. Some would say (and have), Hey, that's what readings are like. To respond, I say:

1) Typically, the actors have had time to read over the script, so it's not entirely a cold read; and
2) You're not expected to give detailed analysis of the play 30 seconds after it's been read. And don't get me started on a full-production. If you can't figure out your reactions, well, then, that's life.

Granted, we do have the popcorn round (I brought in popcorn for my hosting food, because I am *very* clever and the first play was about S&M and the boy feeds Desi popcorn as they watch the end of Jurassic Park and she is in a harness; no, don't ask), where we throw out the first impression, something that "popped out" at us, so we have a little time to digest (ha ha) the play before we give detailed comments, but still...So I had the plays in advance, could read them a number of times, make notes, and then use other students' and Ken's comments to offer a more thoughtful analysis. I have had several other writing classes when I was at Emerson College, and *all* of them were this way. If I ever teach playwrighting, this is what I will do (i.e., have the writers email the classmates at least a day before with the piece). Ken even agreed with me a number of times. I suspect that is because I had the time to really understand the plays and because, just maybe, I am starting to get the jist of the internal conflict issue. I still think of it as a putting out there a well-rounded character. So, for example, if Desi and boy (yes, boy) are engaging in S&M whilst watching a movie, then why? Does this happen all of the time? How exactly do both of them think about this? Is the end of sex (I, er, didn't think of that question)? As the play ends and Desi walks out in anger, is this the *last* time, or does it happen every time? Why is boy called boy and Desi has a name? Is she a prostitute (unlikely)? Do they enjoy this or do it in a rote way? Who enjoys it more or does neither enjoy it? So, these are the questions that the classmates and I had, and it's not so much internal conflict (I think) as it is a fleshing out of the characters and the story in general and not because they want this and they want that, and their needs/wants are in opposition. Maybe that's just me.

I won't go over the other play, b/c I think you get the idea. And b/c the play initially seemed very off-putting but wasn't so as I reread and reread it, so had I not had a chance to get familiarized with it, I think I would have had time commenting on it.

I continue to tweak my play, but man, I am going to get creamed when it's read and discussed.. I'd bet money on it.

Oh, and I began physical therapy on Wednesday. I was given four *very gentle* exercises, which tells you how far I've regressed. Medicine number *five* did not work, so that's it for medicine, aside from Advil. It's now 25 degrees in Boston, and I wish it was spring already. My trip to Florida in February is way too far away.