January 28, 2010

The Staging of BOXES pt.1

Filed under: Posts — admin @ 7:47 pm

BOXES is now, finally, in rehearsal for a performance at Trinidad Theatre Workshop. A small black box theatre in Port of Spain. The play is being directed by a respected Trinidadian director and the cast is packed with all stars. I still don’t understand how. And, to be honest, the ‘why?’ isn’t a question I waste time on answering.  I have no connections in Trinidad nor did I win a playwright competition.

So why is the theatre staging my play? I simply love the performing arts, and so I  went to just about every event the theatre had. My constant presence led to me developing a friendship with the artistic director. We talk about Trinidad and theatre. He lets my daughter play on his computer. We’re friends.

I am still amazed that the play has made it this far. Since 1998 I have been an aspiring playwright. Even now the process of how a play makes it from one’s laptop to the stage is a mystery to me. I’m sure the process is a mystery to many. If you ever sat in the audience, as a writer, and wished you could ask the playwright “how did you do it?” this is your chance.

The next series of blog entries will document how BOXES finally hit the stage.

In addition to attending as many performance as I could, I also reached out to performing artists. A mentor of mine introduced me to an actress whose performance I admired. I shared with her that I was an aspiring writer and wanted to stage my recently completed play. One day she called me to the Trinidad Theatre Workshop to meet with her and the artistic director. It was last minute she said but could I come down to meet them? It was a Saturday or Sunday afternoon and my daughter and I were very busy watching cartoons in our pajamas but we made the time. I was honestly glad that I didn’t have a babysitter – I wanted my daughter to see mommy going after her dreams.

They threw out names of directors and actors and we brainstormed about how the play might move forward. I can’t remember now if anyone had even read the play in its entireity. I do remember that I was pumped to be in a theatre talking to theatre professionals.

They reached out to one of the directors on our short list and he agreed to read the play. I remember my stomach being in knots from the second I learned he had received the play. I want to say that I waited a week to call him, but I probably didn’t. When we spoke he said that he wanted to wait to give me his comments until we met in person. Anything was better than receiving one of those horrible self addressed stamped postcards that say “we read your play and uhhhh, thanks.”

He loved the play. I sat down with a veteran actor and director and we talked about words that I had scribbled on happy hour napkins and in memo pads during work meetings. Words that I had typed late at night after tucking my daughter into bed. He had read them and something about my words had made him think and question and feel. That alone made me feel like a writer, and more importantly, a good one.

After our discussion the director arranged two gatherings of his favorite actors for readings and discussions of the play. You can watch the video clips if you like.

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