Sunday, April 06, 2008

Boston Theatre Marathon: sadness and resolve

Well, it's easy to go from extreme happiness to extreme sadness in about a week, if you are me. The high of SWANDay has been replaced by the low of being rejected yet again from the Boston Theatre Marathon. Now, to be completely fair, they get about 400 entries, and solicit about 20 plays from writers like Israel Horowitz, Robert Brustein, Gary Garrison (who's a god in the theatre world), and others, so there aren't many spots for other lesser-known writers, and it's very competitive. In addition, Kate Snodgrass, an extremely nice (and gifted) writer/producer/director, writes something personal on every rejection note (I think; at least on the three I've received), so I'm not bitter by any means, just saddened. It's so prestigious, and it would be such an honor to be included. As I wrote to Kate (who kindly wrote back; she really does care), I don't see how I can get included in that I submitted my very best short piece, WEDNESDAYS, the one that was produced in NYC, San Antonio, and other locales, and it was still rejected. I guess I don't write the kind of work they want, or I just don't hit it right, and I know it's subjective (Kate said as much). But I can't seem to hit the big three: The Marathon, SLAMBoston, and the Dragonfly Festival (which wasn't held last year), and these are the ones that get a lot of attention. I have been produced locally, but these are the ones I really want to crack,, no, it isn't happening.

Part of my sadness does have to do with last week's exhilaration. Having a play receive a positive reaction validated me and my work (I liked the piece, don't get me wrong, but it was thrilling to see it on stage and have such terrific feedback). The only other time that has happened is when WEDNESDAYS was produced by the Two Spoons Theatre Company last March, when everything came together: the actors, director, script. I just *knew* it was right, and that was the case with WAKE UP CALL. Having the chance to collaborate with Lau, Joey, and Robyn was awesome(I am dying to work with them again; I want this piece to get a full production, dammit), and then to get such encouraging feedback (and from a staged reading, not even a full production!) made me so very happy. It's like a drug: you crave more, and feel very empty without it. There are so few opportunities for work to be produced, unless you self-produce, which is bloody hard--I can't believe how wonderful SWANDay turned out, but Debbie nearly killed herself doing most of the work for it--and I can't put the time, energy, strength (the back is still in horrid shape, and I hope the acupuncture takes this time, b/c I am at wits end, I really am). In fact, I am at work writing this, b/c I can't sit at my computer anymore :-(.

So...that's where I am at. I received the letter from Kate, an encouraging one but a rejection letter nonetheless, after a day spend at acupuncture (not painful but expensive, damn you, back), then watching a new play reading at the Boston Center for the Arts, briefly volunteering for work at an exhibit next door, and having dinner with Debbie and her husband at a cafe across from the BCA. By the time I got home, I was tired (again, b/c of the back) and the letter was a sad surprise. I felt disappointed, and listened to James Morrison all night (b/c he is the only singer that I can listen to when I am at my lowest point), after I watched Step Up and Dance, a new reality dance program at Bravo. The good thing about the latter is that I saw these dancers who are so passionate about their craft, and I thought, Dammit, I can write (decently, at any rate), and so instead of bitching and moaning and crying, I should just start writing again!!! And longer pieces, as Edd and Debbie and Lau and others have encouraged. So: here I am, on a dreary Sunday, staring work on a new play (after I finish this post, obviously). Maybe it's a good sign that James Morrison is now playing on Pandora Radio. So off I go to write, and we'll see. All that can happen is that I get nothing substantive accomplished; if I don't write, I get nothing in return.


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