Friday, April 04, 2008

WAKE UP CALL: happy, happy, joy, joy

The SWAN (Support Women Artists Now) Day Festival was last Saturday from 2-5pm at the Boston Playwrights Theatre in Boston (of course), and man, did it go well! I was in heaven watching my play and then taking in the response. I usually feel so uncomfortable watching my work, and maybe the reason I didn't this time is that I was at two of the rehearsals with Lau (director), Joey (E-Man), and Robyn (Shannon), and that helped ease the discomfort or whatever I typically experience. The first rehearsal wasn't that long, the previous Saturday, and was a good introduction to the piece, but the second rehearsal, last Friday night (only a week ago? Really?!), went so well and I felt so stoked!!! Now, it's hard for me to get excited about pretty much anything, given the constant back pain I'm in--I can only hope tomorrow's acupuncturist is more successful than the last one (he comes highly recommended, and is near my apartment, two major pluses)--but this time I DID get excited. Joey (the djay E-Man) was just so limber, so creative, so INTO it, and Robyn (the CVS employee listener) played off him really nicely, bringing a sincerity that was appreciated. And Lau is just a genius, bringing a new play to life in ways I couldn't have. She just *got* it, and that's hard to be on the same page with a director. God knows I haven't been in the past when I've been part of the process (okay, just once, but still...), but this was different and wonderful and exhilarating. It's not so surprising, given all of Lau's experience (I've seen her work before and was so happy that she wanted to direct the piece), but still...she was just THERE with it.

Joey threw himself into the part (he was hysterical and also vulnerable), and he and Robyn, who have known each other for many years, brought real emotion to their roles, both comic and serious. This is the play I am most proud of. It is something I worked on all semester at Harvard Extension, of course, but it's a topic I've tried to write about since I was in grad school in the early 90s at Emerson, and I couldn't get there till now. Maybe I finally brought perspective to the idea of two lonely people trying to connect and only doing so when they were real and not part of a persona (b/c, really, aren't we all, most of the time, trying to fit in?) So I was kind of part of the rehearsal, giving some feedback, making a couple of line changes, but I was also just taking it in, and it was amazing. And then on Saturday--wow. WOW. They were so great (Lau couldn't be there, but I have pictures on a disc I'll mail to her after I get them from Debbie) and the response was amazing. It was kind of funny when the audience applauded before the play was over (the lights went down and everyone thought the play had ended, and I kind of cringed and went, Uh, no, help!), but then lights back up for the final short scene (the serious one that brings the two of them together) and when it ended there was so much applause and cheering. WOW. And at the end of the festival, I had so many people come up to me to congratulate me (of course, will they put on any of my plays?! Seriously. Will anyone? Please?). And I knew that the play was successful (not flawless, but what is?) and I felt so bloody proud. The song Undiscovered, that is at the heart of the play, has these lyrics:

I'm not lost, I'm not lost, just undiscovered
When we're alone, we're all the same as each other
You see the look that's on my face, you might think I'm out of place,
I'm not lost, no, no, just undiscovered.

And that is just how I feel. You need to find someone to feel connected to, someone who understands, and that is what the play tries to reveal. Does it fully? Well, no, it can't, it is impossible to truly open up your heart to someone and have them be there with you (at least that's my experience, but then again I've never had a soul-mate, like my sister Stephanie and her husband Andy), but you can try, and that is what the play tries to express. It's also funny (I hope) and I hope that helps, because for once I didn't want to write something moribund. I wanted something that showed who we are (funny, lonely, scared, vulnerable, giving) and I hope the play hints at that. A number of people have suggested I make it longer (it's currently 20 minutes) and I might, but for now I'm happy. But I'm open to the possibility. I just need to continue writing, and I want to work on something else, to become engrossed in it (horrid back pain or not), and then see how I feel about this. I am far too obsessive about my love for James Morrison, whom I've been listening to far too much lately, and that's partly b/c I'm really sad the play is over (I always get a real low after a real high), but I'm moving on, b/c I need to, and I'll get back to writing and see what happens.

But I can keep the great feeling of accomplishment I had last Saturday (it was a great festival, probably the best short play festival I've ever been involved with OR have seen, and Debbie gets huge props for putting it together) with a full house and a terrific reaction to an un-produced play. And I need to keep going, and I will. I am off to see my instructor Ken's reading of a new full-length play at the Boston Center for the Arts now, and that, along with watching another play there with Anna tomorrow, should also encourage me to write more. Because that's what I do. I want to dance, like the contestants on So You Think You Can Dance, but that's not what I do, bad back or no. Writing IS what I can do, sometimes well, sometimes not, sometimes with enthusiasm, sometimes not, but I'll always have it. Sadness, loneliness, and all of these other emotions often overtake me, but maybe I can return to the joy I felt last week and can feel motivated to keep going.


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