Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Once again....Mr. Rick Park....

So I went to the T Plays last Saturday. And as usual, I was freaking nervous. It is always nerve wracking to see one of your plays for the first time, with an audience. What if they hate it? What if I hate it? As always, I am my own worst critic and hear things that may not be heard by others, things that make me cringe inside. But I didn’t get that feeling this time. My writing made me happy. Not only my writing, but also the wonderful actors who brought my words to life. Sometimes the synergy between word and actor is so in sync, it amazes me. It also amazes me when it seems that the writers have a shared collective consciousness. Of the seven plays, three featured the word “douchebag”. Two involved bodies of water, three mentioned babies. More than one featured people (and some non-humans) trailing or spying on someone.  Also making appearances in more than one play: lesbians,  donuts and candy, and religious prayer and/or personnel.  But what really stood out for me was how lucky all of us writers were to have this group of highly skilled and dedicated actors. In the T Plays, the writers have the pressure for the first 24 hours. After that, everything switches to the shoulders of the director and the actors. The directors have to act as the “glue” between the script and the actors and have to make some very quick and calculated decisions on blocking, lighting, and all that director jazz. But the lynch pin is the actors. The actors have to memorize 10 pages of dialogue in about 2 days. They have four hours of rehearsal on the Sunday before opening and then they go right into tech. Learning lines is on their time, time outside of the theatre. They exist in a pressure cooker where they must absorb words, movement and a relationship with their fellow actor, all in 3 days before they are performing in front of an audience, with maybe 2 run throughs in the space if they are lucky. If a play has some flaws (and I think my fellow writers will agree that all of our plays do, if only in our minds), it is the actors who must navigate around them the best they can, for 9 performances. They are on the front line, every night, a mere few feet from the audience who is voting for their favorite play. In the words of Project Runway’s Tim Gunn, they have to “make it work”. And for that, we writers (and audience members) are extremely grateful. So I want to give a public shout out to the 14 amazing actors in this year’s T Plays: Brian Bernhard, Shelley Brown, Matt Chapuran, Lindsay Eagle, Kelley Estes, Derek Fraser, Nate Gundy, Louise Hamill,  Molly Kimmerling, Robyn Linden, Jeff Mahoney, Mal Malme, Kim Myatt, and Greer Rooney. If it weren’t for you all, what we write wouldn’t matter. So thanks. A lot.

1 comment:

Kristin said...

Hear hear!! I was rocked back by the quality and the commitment of the actors in the T plays this year. And as a fellow writer, I too am deeply, deeply grateful to the actors who make the words we wrote sing. You guys are making us look good. Thank you, thank you. And congratulations on an awesome show.