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Writing a Play

 
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Zahir
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 19, 2016 4:14 pm    Post subject: Writing a Play Reply with quote

[Mods, please feel free to move this thread to somewhere appropriate if you see reason to.]

I count myself fortunate (some of that fortune self-made) in that my first play Carmilla has not only been produced three times but has been published.

Right now I'm working on the sixth draft of my second play (and the first of my third) with at least two others simmering on the mental back burner. Initially I wrote Noah's Cove in something of a white heat, partially in reaction to a promising but ultimately mediocre play I saw and reviewed which had been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. It belonged to a genre kinda/sorta invented by Anton Chekhov, that of a family drama wherein the family is a metaphor for society as a whole. And my play is that as well, albeit in a somewhat covert way.

Elements in Noah's Cove I see now were brewing somewhere in my head for many years now. The fictional town of the title comes not only from my own experience growing up in a similar place but also my fascination with such over the years, up to and including Collinsport and Twin Peaks! Likewise the family dynamics involved echo my own, albeit with a distorted reverb.

Getting feedback is so tricky, though. Two (and a half) readings of the play have gotten such a varied and frankly odd set of reactions. Ditto showing the text to others, nearly always fellow writers (Note: Showing scripts to non-writers or at least actors tends to be useless--they just don't understand the process, 99 times out of 100). At least once I found trying to follow some directions threw the whole play's character balance out of whack. Ended up cutting half of what I'd added and re-arranging the rest. But such feedback has proven good overall. I'm amused at least a handful of folks were genuinely shocked at one point. Shocked and disturbed.

Right now I'm at the point where the play seems to need some kind of workshop production, to see the thing "on its feet." Don't quite know how to go about that yet, although I'm courting a few small theatres with that in mind. With a cast of four and one set, we're talking a fairly straightforward play to produce at least technically. Half a dozen intense rehearsals might well get it ready, if the cast is really good.

More news as it comes.
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 22, 2016 2:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zahir wrote:
Getting feedback is so tricky, though. Two (and a half) readings of the play have gotten such a varied and frankly odd set of reactions. Ditto showing the text to others, nearly always fellow writers (Note: Showing scripts to non-writers or at least actors tends to be useless--they just don't understand the process, 99 times out of 100). At least once I found trying to follow some directions threw the whole play's character balance out of whack. Ended up cutting half of what I'd added and re-arranging the rest. But such feedback has proven good overall. I'm amused at least a handful of folks were genuinely shocked at one point. Shocked and disturbed.


It's very interesting hearing from you what reviewing processes have worked for you, and what have not!

I'm not sure, but this thread may fit better in The Hall Of Gifts forum, moderated by deer of the dawn, as it discusses creative writing. But that's just a guess, and not really my call to make. Nevertheless, it's enjoyable to hear about the steps involved.

Zahir wrote:
I count myself fortunate (some of that fortune self-made) in that my first play Carmilla has not only been produced three times but has been published.


That is VERY cool, Zahir! Cool Cool Cool Congratulations!!!
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 22, 2016 5:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmmm, there's the Writers Circle as well, but I'm easy. You might want that if you'd rather keep it out of the public domain, since it's a private forum.

(Anybody needs access, they can let me know.)

As for the play...do you guys not have what the Brits call "Amateur Dramatics?" Groups of theatre lovers who put on plays? Nothing commercial really, just for the love of it. That would be ideal for "workshopping" it if you do.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 24, 2016 6:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zahir wrote:
I count myself fortunate (some of that fortune self-made) in that my first play Carmilla has not only been produced three times but has been published.

congrats on that!
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 24, 2016 2:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was not planning on posting any of the play here. Razz

Also I have my doubts about most amateur theatricals (we kinda/sorta call those community theatres here--although some are absolutely first rate) because most deal with less technically challenging works than mine--technically challenging in terms of acting craft. That sounds terribly arrogant, but I happen to have had the good luck to receive really good training in that respect and it is too much effort to "dial down" from what I've learned.

Right now I'm trying to politic one of several theatre companies I know to perhaps mount a workshop production. Ideally, I'd come to maybe one or two rehearsals to answer a few questions, then see the final product and be present for feedback.

Or--maybe I should stick with them every inch of the way and work together to find the weak spots, then fix them as part of the process.

We'll see. Cool
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 25, 2016 5:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, good luck either way. Very Happy

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 28, 2016 10:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes indeed, best of luck, Zahir! Thumbs Up
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 28, 2016 10:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zahir wrote:
I was not planning on posting any of the play here.


Good point! Okay, maybe this thread doesn't belong in the Hall of Gifts, then! Wink
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2016 6:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zahir wrote:
Right now I'm trying to politic one of several theatre companies I know to perhaps mount a workshop production. Ideally, I'd come to maybe one or two rehearsals to answer a few questions, then see the final product and be present for feedback.


It would be interesting to hear how that all works out! This all represents something outside of my experience, and learning about it from you, Zahir, is likely to be quite illuminating! Idea
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